Renovated Gwyn Hall in Neath marks first year
AN historic and iconic venue in Neath which has risen from the ashes has had a record first year.
The renovated Gwyn Hall is marking its first anniversary since it reopened on March 8 last year.
The town centre venue had been ravaged by fire in 2007 and was given a £7 million restoration.
Marketing manager Rhys Hopkin said it had been a very successful year.
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He said in terms of visitors numbers it had "over-achieved what was estimated" by a significant amount.
During the first half of the financial year, the Gwyn Hall had 43,726 users.
It is expected to pass its forecasted all-year total of between 53,200 and 56,000 users.
Mr Hopkin said he was really pleased with the response the hall had received from visitors.
"The audiences of Neath have been very welcoming to us," he added.
"It is a fantastic state-of-the-art venue. We are really happy people are making use of the facility."
The venue is celebrating its first year with a special theatrical treat for audiences.
On Thursday and Friday, Crashmat Collective will be presenting Facade, which will include an intimate and theatrical three-course meal, during which stories will unfold in thrilling and touching ways, encircling visitors as they dine.
Mr Hopkin said it was a circus performance that should not be missed.
"This type of show has never been done before," he said.
"We are really looking forward to it. It is a sell-out."
He added big names continued to be attracted to the venue. "We have got Gareth Gates coming this year," he said.
"We also have more circus- based events. In July we have Knee Deep and we are their only Welsh date.
"Our season is packed. We have around 20 productions per season."
Council leader Ali Thomas also has sung the praises of the Gwyn Hall, which was visited by The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in September, who unveiled a plaque.
"It's been a fantastic year for the Gwyn Hall," said Mr Thomas. "It is a wonderful building which we can all be proud of.
"It is without doubt an iconic building with state-of-the-art facilities which is attracting rave reviews from far and wide.
"I look forward to it continuing to inspire generations to come.
"I would like to place on record my thanks to everyone involved with its success and to the public for their support."
Cabinet member for community and leisure services, Mike James, said the Gwyn Hall had exceeded expectations.
"What I have seen is that it has provided a centre for the schools and youths to access for performing arts.
"I am not only proud of our staff for their dedication and drive, I am also proud of the iconic building that has been restored in Neath."
Figures released in December showed that in the first six months amateur productions had attracted 3,603 people to the Neath venue. It also had a cinema audience of 17,416 and the café bar had 12,705 customers in the first six months.