AN AMBITIOUS redevelopment of a historic building aims to put the Newport venue “back on the map”.

The Neon, on Clarence Place in Newport, is a Grade II listed building with a rich history. It was formerly The Newport Odeon Theatre, which opened on March 12 in 1938 and remained as the Odeon until its closure on May 30, 1981.

Known as The Neon since 2015, work is currently being undertaken to restore the building and use it as a hub for a range of inclusive events.

Chris Hughes, who took over management of The Neon in May, said: “The Neon is an incredible building which has re-opened as a space for everyone.

“The building is being taking forward as a venue for live music and events, inclusive of everyone. It’s about giving Newport somewhere to be proud of and to feel welcome.”

South Wales Argus: The Neon on Clarence Place in NewportThe Neon on Clarence Place in Newport

Significant development work is being carried out within the spacious building which has been adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, with barriers, signage and sanitizer dotted around to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Following feedback from visitors the disabled toilets are being refurbished and discussions to add disabled parking, CCTV, and lighting to the disused land behind the building are being pursued.

Although club nights are included in the programme of events at The Neon, various events are planned for the venue – which is a stone’s throw away from the city centre – including live music of all genres. A remembrance concert is planned, which will help raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

South Wales Argus: Wall art on the stairs at The NeonWall art on the stairs at The Neon

A VIP area has been introduced downstairs where a big screen and projectors are being reinstated to reintroduce cinema nights to The Neon.

“There are lots of different ideas kicking about for an affordable cinema experience,” said Mr Hughes.

The popular Bingo Lingo is set to return and there are plans for comedy nights, cover nights, craft fairs, sports events, U18 nights (with a zero drink and drug policy, full security, and chaperones allowed), and more.

A balcony on the second floor of The Neon has a seating area which will remain, with work under way to add an upstairs bar, install booths, and add a VIP area to the balcony.

South Wales Argus: A bar, booths and a VIP area are being added to the balconyA bar, booths and a VIP area are being added to the balcony

“There are lots of different ideas kicking about for an affordable cinema experience,” said Mr Hughes.

Broadcasting systems are also being installed to allow livestreaming of events at The Neon and to adapt for internet audiences.

The building is also suitable for private hire for an array of events including parties, weddings, wakes, christenings, award ceremonies and more. And a recently opened kitchen – Nellies – has proven popular already.

“Nellies has been quite successful so far,” added Mr Hughes.

“People were happy with food served there and for events – such as a Christening hosted here recently – the space can be used to prepare food.

“We’ve had really good feedback, comments, and suggestions about the building so far. The most frequent feedback is that people didn’t know this place existed – we want to put it back on the map.”



Currently the venue has staff working flexible hours, but if plans go as hoped there is potential for The Neon to create part-time jobs, full-time jobs, and work experience opportunities for students in terms of sound and lighting.

Newport’s community radio station, Newport City Radio, is also based within the building and plans are in the pipeline for the radio station to host events including live performances by local musicians.

To stay up to date with events at The Neon visit their website or find the venue on Facebook at