NEWPORT'S amateur dramatic groups have banded together to help give the city's Dolman Theatre get a makeover.

Groups young and old, from opera to youth theatre, voluntarily clubbed together giving up their time and money to renovate the theatre which was built in 1965.

The work, which began in July, saw the volunteers do everything from stripping the floors back to their original oak wood finish to glamming up the loos.

Theatre manager Lisa Aston-Griffiths had her son Daniel, 23, braving the long ladders to paint the roof.

Mrs Aston-Griffiths, said: "It was a real community effort and the atmosphere was brilliant."

The 400-seat theatre, which hosts shows put on by local amateur dramatic groups from across Gwent, now has new seating, as well as the restoration of the original floors and the repainted auditorium.

In addition, local groups decided they wanted to each repaint one of the dressing rooms.

Youth group WAWWA (We Are What We Are), who are aged between 15-20, created a New York styled room, complete with a mural of the famous Manhattan sky-line and a Statue of Liberty clock, while Centre Stage Cymru went for a Welsh theme, with the walls bedecked in red, white and green and smattered with pictures of Welsh stars like Anthony Hopkins and Newport born actor Michael Sheen .

New Venture Players decided to cater for the divas with a lavish "leading ladies" inspired room including lush red velvet curtains.

Newport Operatic society stuck to their roots with a musical note theme, sprinkled with images synonymous with musical theatre like Dorothy's red shoes from the Wizard of Oz while Playgoers New Generation project images from their recent shows, such as Round the World in 80 Days, onto their stylish black and white walls.

In fact demand was so high to help out, that the theatre ran out of rooms which meant the Young Venture Players brightened up the toilets.

Mrs Aston-Griffiths, said: "No-one was asked to do it, they all volunteered. I think it is amazing and it was great to see all the groups in the theatre together working together. It made me very proud."

  • You can see the new-look Dolman for yourself from Wednesday when Newport Playgoers open their new season with a production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. The comedy runs from Wednesday to Saturday with performances at 7.15pm each night, and a 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Tickets are available from 01633 263670 or