During late 2019, the Council announced Awen Cultural Trust as their preferred tenant and operator of the Muni – and jointly announced an ambitious long-term plan to refurbish the Muni in partnership with architects Purcell. The aim is to secure the building’s heritage and celebrate the stunning gothic architecture for which it is recognised and listed – while securing a sustainable future that meets the needs of the local community and establishes the Muni as a unique regional arts and music venue once again.
This autumn, an important public consultation process is taking place with the community and key stakeholders, to bring residents up-to-date with progress and to gain important feedback to help shape the plans. It will consist of two main stages – a call for memories (starting October 2020) followed by public and stakeholder consultation exercises (starting on November 23, 2020).
This stage of the work is being funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund, along with additional funding from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.
Residents are now welcome to share their stories and memories of the Muni’s past. A dedicated webpage has been set up on the Council’s website containing full details, which can be accessed here.
We want to hear as many memories as possible from the community – from when the Muni was used as a Wesleyan Chapel to the activities that took place there, the concerts enjoyed in the building and the weddings it hosted.
We also want to see as many pictures as possible, which may give further insight into the Muni’s historic features and significance, as well as the social value of the Muni to the community. All submissions made in the consultation will help form part of a wider heritage significance assessment of the Muni.
Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “The Muni Arts Centre is certainly a much-loved venue by the people of Pontypridd and beyond, and there was lots of excitement when the Council, Awen and Purcell’s ambitious plans were first shared at the end of last year. Cabinet recommended that the Council should engage with the wider community at the appropriate time, which is what is being brought forward this autumn.
“The first part of this consultation is inviting local residents to share their recollections of the Muni and its vast history, and it will be fascinating to hear the memories and see the photos that are shared. It will give the Council, Awen and Purcell further information about the Muni’s heritage, which is important in the wider aim of revitalising the building as a fit-for-purpose regional arts venue which best meets the needs of local people.
“I’d urge anyone who has been a part of the Muni’s past, as well as those interested in its future, to take part in the wider consultation process.”
Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, added: “We look forward with working with local groups and individuals to celebrate and share the Muni’s history, heritage and cultural identity, and to find out what makes this much-loved venue so unique and special. There will be many people with their own stories to tell about visiting, working or performing at the Muni, whether it is a recent connection or a tale passed down over generations. We are excited to hear these memories, personal experiences and anecdotes, so that we can weave them into the future plans for the venue.”
Following the call for memories, the process will move towards its second stage on November 23 – a public and stakeholder consultation. This will include virtual workshops, a presentation and a questionnaire for local people to get involved. Further details about this will be communicated in due course.