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Metropole Theatre to be run by Awen Cultural Trust

Blaenau Gwent Council has agreed an alternative service delivery arrangement for The Metropole in Abertillery which will see it run by Awen Cultural Trust, securing the future of the facility for the performance and promotion of arts and culture in the town.

Awen Cultural Trust was established in 2015 as a charitable organisation with objectives to enhance cultural opportunities. Awen’s purpose is to ‘Make People’s Lives Betterby providing space and opportunity for people to enjoy vibrant cultural experiences that inspire and enhance their sense of wellbeing. Awen is planning on a bright future for the Theatre post COVID-19 restrictions, which will feature both professional and community events, keeping the performing arts alive in Abertillery and surrounding areas.

Blaenau Gwent Council recently approved a 10-year Leisure & Cultural Strategy for the county borough in line with its objectives for the health and well-being of local residents.

The Metropole is currently managed by the Aneurin Leisure Trust, and staff members will be retained to oversee the day-to-day operations, hire and local community engagement.

The ability for the Council to pursue alternative service delivery options means that it can work in partnership with eligible and interested groups to manage and operate facilities for whole of the community to continue to enjoy.

The Council’s Executive Committee unanimously supported plans.

Councillor Joanne Collins, the Council’s Executive Member for Education with responsibility for managing the relationship with the Aneurin Leisure Trust, says:

“We are committed to the continuation of leisure services and art and cultural opportunities here in Blaenau Gwent as we know how important this is for the health and well-being of people of all ages in our communities.

It’s exciting that by working in partnership and agreeing this way forward with Awen Cultural Trust we are able to retain this important facility for Abertillery and surrounding areas. I really look forward to attending a performance there when we’re able to return to theatres.”

Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, said: 

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to secure a vibrant future for The Met.

As we look towards a brighter year ahead, when we hope theatres and performance spaces can safely reopen, we look forward to working with the staff at The Met, to further develop its excellent programme of professional events, which have been so well supported by those living in the local area over the years.

We also look forward to getting to know the local choirs, drama societies, musicians, dance schools and other groups who contribute so much to the cultural life and heritage of Abertillery, so they too can continue to be part of The Met’s ongoing programme of community events.

There is a genuine sense of excitement at Awen at bringing a new team, who share our values and commitment to arts and culture into our organisation, and together we will be working towards a seamless transition over the next few months.

On a personal note, having worked in Abertillery and The Met itself for many years, it’s wonderful to be able to do so again and work alongside this great community.”

Phill Sykes, Operations Director of Aneurin Leisure Trust said: 

“This is a great development for The Met and our staff are really looking forward to continuing their excellent work of bringing exciting cultural events to the community across Blaenau Gwent.

Awen has a wealth of experience managing arts venues and will provide the expertise to grow and develop this valuable resource and our focus will continue to be on improving community life through our sport, parks, education and library facilities.”