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Bridgend Community National News South Wales

Performing arts groups invited ‘behind the scenes’ of historic building’s redevelopment

Some of Maesteg Town Hall’s regular user groups were recently invited for a ‘behind the scenes’ visit to view the progress of the historic building’s redevelopment works.

The building is undergoing a major redevelopment in the largest investment Maesteg town centre has seen in decades, with the focus on restoring the Grade II listed building to its former glory and enhancing it with modern features such as a new glass atrium, studio theatre and cinema space, café and mezzanine bar, heritage centre, library, and accessible lift.

During the tour, the arts, and cultural groups, including Curtain Up, Bois Goetre-Hen Male Choir, Maesteg Musical Theatre Society and Funk Force dance group, were talked through the latest building works by contractors Knox and Wells and officers from both Bridgend County Borough Council and Awen Cultural Trust.

The development has made substantial progress, in recent months with the following works undertaken:

  • laying of the pennant stone slabs in the open plan public space which will house a library, meeting area, workspace, and activities for different age groups.
  • installation of a passenger lift in the newly created foyer area, allowing full access to the building’s three levels.
  • continuation of intensive works to address the issues of dry rot in key areas of the building.
  • adding the wall and floor finishes across the building.
  • finishing works for the reconfigured dressing rooms including two additional dressing rooms.
  • stage rigging for sound and lighting sets and screens.

Richard Howells, Secretary of Bois Goetre-Hen Male Choir said: “It was a very interesting and informative ‘behind the scenes’ visit to Maesteg Town Hall and whilst there is still a lot to do to this iconic building it will without fail remain the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of not only the Llynfi Valley but the entire County Borough of Bridgend. As a choir, Bois Goetre-Hen awaits with bated breath for the grand opening and for the public to once again experience and embrace with open arms what the magnificent town of Maesteg has to offer.

“The former building had a ‘warmth’ a ‘homely’ feeling, the acoustic was superb, very seldom did performers require amplification but sadly, in the latter years like us all, it was getting ‘old and tired’ dated deco, water ingress, poor heating system, inadequate access (via a delivery lift) and lack of investment.

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“The hall was imploding, something drastic had to be done to save its very existence. If nothing had been done sadly, like numerous other symbolic buildings in Maesteg, it would without doubt have been mothballed and fallen into rack and ruin.

“I was surprised and shocked by the expanse of space created within the once thriving indoor market area. I can only hope that the ‘space’ will once again be filled with throngs of people visiting the new library and organisations will take up the opportunity of utilising the many newly created rooms on its periphery.

“With new buildings come new facilities, the new entrance off Talbot Street is superb if only to provide the public with a safe, warm foyer area as I’ve personally had to endure queuing on the former steep steps and pavement in the cold and wet waiting for those two swing doors to open, only to be greeted by another queue waiting to buy raffle tickets at the entrance or ice cream at the ‘ticket booth.

“The new Studio or ‘Orange Box’ as it’s colloquially referred to will be a real asset to organisations who wish to perform in a more intimate surrounding, great to be a ‘big fish in a little pond’ nothing worse than performing in front of a sparse audience.

“Lift access for both the public and for the delivery of ‘props’ to the stage are also major advantages, something which the hall will certainly reap the benefit from. Newly refurbished backstage changing rooms, washing facilities, sound and lighting will without any fear of contradiction help promote the venue.”

Ruth from Curtain Up, Youth Theatre Group, said: “We were delighted to visit Maesteg Town Hall recently along with other user group representatives. We have long anticipated being able to walk up the town hall steps once again and were eager to see the work that has been carried out. From the new library where the market was situated, up to the hall itself, it was plain to see that the redevelopment is really progressing now.


“As a theatrical company, we were particularly interested in viewing the stage and backstage area. The dressing rooms have been transformed and are now finally fit for purpose. The new studio conveniently connects onto the backstage area giving us extra room to safely supervise the large numbers of children taking part in our productions. We were impressed to see the new lift which will rise directly onto the stage and enjoyed viewing the rest of the much-needed renovations for ourselves.

“We’re so lucky to still have Maesteg Town Hall at the centre of our town, being slowly transformed for future generations to enjoy. It is going to be such an emotional moment for all the regular user groups in Maesteg when this magnificent building finally reopens its doors once again.

“Curtain Up are very excited to start practising and performing in the town hall in the not-too-distant future. We missed our 20th anniversary but hope to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2025 back in the building. Keeping our fingers crossed!”

Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration, who attended the recent visit said: “I was delighted to see the progress that has been made since my last visit just before Christmas. The development is really starting to take shape. It’s exciting to be able to witness the space inside transform from an artist’s impression on paper to the reality of a phenomenal arts and cultural venue.

“This is a huge investment in the heart of the community, which will ensure that everyone in the Llynfi Valley and surrounding areas has access to high-quality arts and cultural experiences on their doorstep.

“Once reopened the building is set to become an even bigger focal point of the town, benefitting both the day and nighttime economies, attracting visitors of all ages and interests and generating opportunities for investment from private sector businesses.”

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, added: “Maesteg Town Hall’s regular user groups were, and will forever be, the lifeblood of this community venue. The local choirs, drama societies and dance schools contribute so much to the cultural life and heritage of the Llynfi Valley, it was a privilege to offer them a ‘sneak peek’ of the redevelopment. We cannot wait to welcome them back to the stage in the not too distant future.”      

The project is being funded by Bridgend County Borough Council, the European Regional Development Fund, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Welsh Government including CADW, Awen Cultural Trust, Maesteg Town Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Davies Trust, and the Pilgrim Trust.

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