FISHGUARD'S Theatr Gwaun is set to open its doors next week, for the first time since March.

On Thursday, November 12, the venue will launch Martha's, a new café, meeting and performance space, with a programme of regular live day-time events in a safe, warm environment with plenty of excellent, simple hospitality.

With the help of many generous donations, funding and volunteer power, the foyer and café area have been spruced-up, Covid-19 precautionary measures installed throughout and the auditorium made ready.

The live event programme will start on Thursday with a performance by classical musicians Matthew Bale and Lorna Osbon.

The pair are staunch supporters of the theatre and have raised over £2,000 for the venue by releasing 35 daily music tracks.

The café area will feature an exhibition of limited edition prints, water colours, art books, and records, donated for sale by the Wickenden family, with all proceeds going to the theatre.

The theatre has planned an exciting daytime programme of live events which will take place between 11 am and 2pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, featuring local performers and speakers.

"We are delighted to be cooperating with AberJazz to provide live musical performances every Saturday and with the Folk Festival which has also already helped us to connect with an array of talent who will perform each week," said the theatre's CEO Sue Whitbread.

"This is a great start, and we hope to expand the programme to include all our local musical and dramatic groups including Best Foot Forward, FADDS and Fishguard Musical Theatre Society."

The initial performances will be un-ticketed with the intention to expand to events that can be booked in advance. The plan is to stage more full-scale theatrical and musical productions as soon as audience levels can be expanded.

The theatre has teamed up with Rhianna Chilton of the Red Onion Café to provide a wonderful selection of freshly made cakes using organic homegrown and local produce, suitable for all people and all dietary needs.

The venue will also continue as a valued local cinema in the evenings and in the day, starting on 15 November with the screening of The National Theatre's War Horse.

The film programme in the coming months has been put together from the enthusiastic responses to a Facebook survey and with expert input from Fishguard Film Society.

The new space at the theatre has been named Martha's in honour of Martha Phillips Harries who laid the cornerstone of the building, then a temperance hall in 1878.

The community of Fishguard and Goodwick was behind the project then as it is now, on both occasions with the aim to provide a social and cultural space for the community.

"It is fitting that Martha should feature at the centre of this new chapter in the story of Theatr Gwaun as we introduce a new, welcoming space for all forms of creative and artistic endeavour," said chair of trustees, Dr Patrick Thomas.