Grand Pavilion to close its doors ahead of major refurbishments
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Porthcawl’s popular Grand Pavilion is set to close its doors this month ahead of a multi-million pound refurbishment planned for the Grade II listed building.
The iconic attraction based at the heart of the town will be closed to the public from Monday, 5 February, following a successful bid submitted by Bridgend County Borough Council to the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme.
The £18m project will see the development of new facilities at the Grade II-listed building, including function spaces on the Esplanade level, along with new rooftop function and café spaces.
There will also be a new studio theatre, business incubation or workshop spaces at street level, and increased welfare facilities including a changing places facility.
The closure will come after Bridgend Youth Theatre’s final performance of We Will Rock You on Sunday 4 February, with a “period of decommissioning” now set to take place, where the building will be emptied of furniture and equipment as well as other fixtures and fittings.
A Bridgend Council spokesperson said: “The redevelopment will safeguard this much-loved theatre for generations to come and help offer a much more inclusive and enjoyable experience for audiences and artists alike; cementing the Grand Pavilion’s position as a place where people of all ages can connect and engage with arts, culture, and heritage.”
Councillor Rhys Goode added: “February 2024 marks a significant milestone in this iconic building’s long history. We’re delighted that we are now able to get these ambitious development plans underway.
“Although this will mean that the building will be out of operation for a while, we cannot wait to witness the transformation of this cherished arts venue into a modern, cultural space that residents and visitors to Porthcawl can enjoy for years to come.”
Peter Phillips, who is the organiser of the town’s iconic Elvis festival, said he just hopes that the plans go ahead as scheduled. He said: “Short term the closure could have a bit of a negative impact on the town, but in the medium to long term we hope it will have a very positive impact.
“I’ve seen the plans and it is very exciting. We just always worry with big plans whether they’re actually going to happen or not. We’ve seen what happened up in Maesteg with the town hall and how that’s been delayed, so we are a bit fearful. For me I just hope it all goes to plan as it will be great for the town, and for the Elvis Festival.”
Work to re-develop Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion is now expected to begin later in 2024, once the building is emptied and stripped of non-structural materials such as ceilings and plasterboards.
While the building is closed Awen, the cultural trust who run the pavillion, say they will continue to entertain audiences with a programme of ‘pop-up Pavilion’ events at the Awel-y-Mor Community Centre, Porthcawl and in other community venues.
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