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Wales’ oldest cinema has been saved

28 May 2022 4 minute read
The Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr (Credit: Market Hall Cinema}

The future of Wales’ oldest cinema, The Market Hall Cinema in Brynmawr, has been secured thanks to the group fighting to save it finally taking ownership of the 128 year old picture house.

As a result of a Community Asset Transfer between Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and The Market Hall Cinema and Arts Trust, the trust now own the freehold of the cinema.

As part of the transfer the trust also own the adjoining building, the area that was originally the indoor market before becoming the library.

In 2013, the Save Our Cinema group was formed, with the aim of saving The Market Hall Cinema from closure.

“The support at this stage of our story was massive,” said a spokesperson for the Market Hall Cinema and Arts Trust. “People of all ages were backing us every step of the way.

“This was the beginning of our well-publicised journey to becoming a charity and ultimately taking ownership of the Grand Old Lady of Brynmaw and now we’ve done it.

“The Market Hall Cinema and Arts Trust has finally sealed the deal. We are now officially the owners, or as we like to think of it, the custodians of Wales’ oldest and most loved cinema.”

A save our cinema protest outside the Market Hall (Credit: Market Hall Cinema)

Built in 1894 for the people of Brynmawr, the cinema has a long and proud history.

Two global pandemics, two world wars, too many Prime Ministers to mention and four monarchs later The Market Hall Cinema is still going strong since the trust started to run the cinema.

“We will never be able to thank our cinema friends enough for the support they have given us since our first ever screening of The Minions, when we didn’t have any cash in the till to buy sweets or popcorn. Here we are today, with the Old Lady as popular as ever and fighting her way back out of another crisis.

“The support from our friends is unwavering. Our friends are dotted all around the planet, many visit occasionally, others follow our story from afar.

“We have heard so many delightful stories of generations of film lovers who spent time watching moving pictures at Wales’ oldest cinema, some have made us cry, others have made us roll around laughing. The love for this old building and what she represents is increasing year on year.”

Now the cinema group is appealing for help in taking the picture house to the next level with an array of exciting plans for the future.

“Now it’s time to get to work on some exciting developments and this is where, once again we will need help. This is the start of another very busy and exciting journey, another chapter in the life of a very old Victorian building, in the centre of a very cold, blustery Welsh town, perched at the top of a very big hill.

“We need help more than ever as we develop new and exciting projects. We are looking for more volunteers who are able to commit to a few hours a week. People confident in dealing with the public and able to cope in a busy environment.

“We will also be recruiting more Trustees with the specific skills we require going forward including HR, health and safety, grant and funding application experience, heritage, environment and also experience of delivering and managing arts projects.”

If you are interested in volunteering or believe you have the skills the Market Hall Cinema is looking for, contact the trust via their Facebook page

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