Our partner organisation, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, has announced that the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Y Muni is now officially underway! Contractors have started work to revitalise the much-loved Pontypridd venue and reopen it next summer.

The Grade II Listed Muni, in the centre of Pontypridd, was originally built in a gothic style as a Weslyan Chapel in 1895 – and in later years it developed a rich history as a regional arts and music hub. In 2019, the Council announced exciting and ambitious plans for a major refurbishment project, with the aim of re-establishing Y Muni as a popular arts venue with a sustainable future.

Awen will operate Y Muni following its redevelopment – using our wealth of experience in running a range of cultural facilities. The project secured £5.3m funding from the first round of UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund during late 2021.

Following significant work behind the scenes to complete the project’s design phase and to gain all of the required statutory consents, the Council’s appointed contractor Knox and Wells started the first internal works on site during the week commencing Monday, September 4.

The redevelopment will provide a multi-purpose and fully-accessible events venue offering a varied programme of live music and event cinema, along with bar facilities to support the local leisure and night-time economy.

The work will include conservation and repair of the venue, with the project designed to expose the building’s stunning gothic architecture. The auditorium will be refurbished while the entrance foyer, bar and mezzanine areas will be remodelled. Lifts, toilets, dressing rooms and a Changing Place facility will be installed, along with associated improvements to the back of house areas.

Councillor Bob Harris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said: “I’m very pleased that the main construction work to redevelop the Muni Arts Centre has now started – which represents a major landmark towards bringing the venue back into use. The exciting project will enhance the venue’s original features and heritage, while ensuring it is a fit-for-purpose cultural venue meeting the community’s needs.

“The project’s design has focused on these two outcomes – protecting and where possible exposing features of the original building, while ensuring that the Muni has a sustainable future as a cultural hub. The Council has worked very closely with Awen Cultural Trust, which has an excellent track record of running such venues. It is also very fitting that the appointed contractor Knox and Wells was also the company that built the original church in 1895.

“The Muni redevelopment is one of many exciting regeneration projects for Pontypridd, following the recent delivery of Llys Cadwyn, the Cwrt yr Orsaf Extra Care facility and YMa (Pontypridd YMCA). Several key projects are also planned in the Pontypridd Placemaking Plan – including the riverside plaza project at the M&S building, delivering a high-quality public realm at the bingo hall site, and further investment across Ynysangharad War Memorial Park.

“The Council will provide updates to residents as the Muni Arts Centre project progresses on site in the weeks and months ahead. The project is scheduled for completion during summer 2024, which will be in time to be used a key venue when Pontypridd proudly hosts the National Eisteddfod of Wales.”