Conwy Civic Hall
A landmark building situated in a World Heritage Site, with good facilities, this is Conwy’s only theatre. It is currently closed and likely to be sold.
A landmark building, with good facilities, this is Conwy’s only theatre. Situated by the Quay in the centre of historic Conwy, the original Civic Hall was designed in a Tudor Gothic style. Following a fire in 1966, the great hall was rebuilt in sheet-concrete and the remains of the buttressed foyer and tower incorporated. A 240-seat studio theatre was included in the reconstruction. The Civic Hall closed in 2014, meaning the residents of Conwy are currently without a community location to meet, celebrate or present home grown entertainment or small music and touring shows, all of which were valuable activities prior to its closure. There is significant local interest in saving the building as a resource for the community.
Why is this theatre at risk?
Conwy Council announced plans to close the venue in 2011. Local user groups formed a Community Interest Company to take over the management of the venue but its proposal, submitted in late 2013, was rejected by the council, which described it as ‘not viable’ and suggested that implementing it would ‘present an unacceptable risk’. The venue closed in March 2014, and has since faced an uncertain future. In 2016 the council announced a tender process to secure commercial bids for the development and regeneration of the Civic Hall. Theatres Trust provided support to Last Bastion, a local community group, in their initial expression of interest, however, the bid was not taken forward. The Council received no other submissions and now wishes to sell the venue on the open market. The building is in need of maintenance and upgrade works.
Local group the Last Bastion has formed as a community interest company with the aim to raise £7 million to return the hall to use. It has also been campaigning for the Council to gift the group the building via a Community Asset Transfer. The group would like to see the building used as a community arts space for Conwy, however it is understood that the Council is not willing to consider a community led project and are continuing to look for a commercial return on the property. Whilst there is an active community group looking to make active use of this space this is a disappointing decision and Theatres Trust will be looking to speak with the Council to discuss further.
Image: Conwy Civic Hall, Purcell