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Plan for comedians to perform in shipping container by Wales Millennium Centre

08 Apr 2021 3 minutes Read
A CGI of how the performances could look Picture: Rio Architects

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

Cardiff’s Wales Millennium Centre has outlined its plans for comedians and bands to perform in a shipping container outside the theatre this summer.

Stand-up comics will start the programme of events in July, as staff test how to put on gigs outdoors and safely during a pandemic.

Live music will then follow, and in August and September the shipping container could host performances including theatre, sketch and drag.

The outdoor programme to restart live performances after more than a year since they stopped due to coronavirus and social distancing, would be wound down in the middle of September, as the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) could fully reopen to the public.

Rio Architects, working on behalf of the Cardiff Bay venue, revealed the details of the outdoor performances while applying for planning permission to install the shipping container.

‘Safe and managed’ 

In planning documents, it said: “This summer, Wales Millennium Centre plans to present a diverse mix of performances and events to enable families, young people and adults to come together in a safe and managed way to enjoy live performance.

“This programme will bring much needed employment to local and national artists suffering extreme financial hardship due to the restrictions on the sector and a safe and managed outlet for people to come together in the way only live performance can facilitate.

“Built into the plan of events is ample time for us to reflect after each event and implement any changes we consider necessary to ensure the successful and safe running of our season, as [we] build to a full programme.”

The first event will see a stand-up comedian perform to an invited audience of staff members, so ticketing and Covid-safety measures can be tested. The second event will also be a comedian, for another invite-only audience of “friends of WMC”.

The first public event is tentatively scheduled for July 17, with another standup comic. From the end of July, Sunday daytime performances could be added for family audiences, possibly with live music.

The programme would be expanded from August 5 to include Thursday nights and a fuller range of events including comedy, Welsh language theatre, gig theatre, sketch and drag.

Evening performances would run from 7.30pm until 9.10pm, while daytime performances would run from 2pm until 4pm All tickets would need to be bought in advance, with no walk-ups permitted access. All performances would use the shipping container as a stage.

The shipping container would be placed to the south of the main building, where the external seating area currently is. There is already another shipping container, which would be used as a bar.

Planning officers at Cardiff council have not yet approved planning permission for the performance container.

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