Fishguard's Theatre Gwaun Community Trust is celebrating a year at the helm of the venue with a benefit concert tonight (Saturday).
In June last year a dedicated group of volunteers took over the theatre, which had been threatened with closure, on a three year lease from Pembrokeshire County Council.
The volunteer committee had just two weeks to breathe new life into the theatre before re-opening.
“It was a thrilling but scary challenge,” said committee member June Cooper.
“With an army of volunteers, sometimes working through the night, we gave the building a new outside face, decorated the reception areas, built a bar, trained and recruited volunteers, and set up maintenance, marketing, sales and admin systems. At the end of our first year we can celebrate a vastly improved and extended menu of films and live events; a welcoming community atmosphere; a youth programme; three part-time paid staff and a bank balance which is not in the red.”
In their first year the organisation screened 92 films to 9,800 people and held 47 live events for 3,500 people.
“We feel we are providing an important community service in Pembrokeshire, especially during these difficult times,” said June.
She paid tribute to the theatre’s fantastic team of volunteers and added: “We realise that the road ahead will be long and difficult, not least the need to seek further funding and keeping up with progress in both cinema and theatre developments.
“We have not been supported by fat arts awards but we have had, and hope to continue with, huge community support.”
The theatre is hosting a benefit concert and party on Saturday.
Supported by Barclays Bank, the event features the Sun Dancers of Ra (pictured), actor Peter Read, performance poet Simone Mansell Broom, acoustic band the Smoky Ramblers, guitarist Tom Gray and will be hosted by stand up comedian and Baptist minister Terry Broadhurst.
Tickets cost £7.50 and the show starts at 8pm. There will be food and drink available afterwards.
For more information on this year’s programme, visit www.its4u.org.uk.