FISHGUARD mayor Jackie Stokes opened Martha's at Theatr Gwaun last week, with tremendous support from across the community.

The new venture is a cafe, meeting and event space. The opening also celebrated the fact that the cinema has now begun a programme of socially distanced film screenings.

With the help of generous donations, funding and volunteer power, the foyer and café area of the theatre have been revamped, coronavirus safety measures installed throughout and the auditorium made ready.

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 new area of the venue has been named Martha's after Martha Phillips Harries who laid the cornerstone of the building, then a temperance hall in 1878.

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.

Last week's opening was made even more special by the presentation of a cheque for more than £2,000 to the theatre by classical musicians Lorna Osbon and Matthew Bale. The talented pair released a music track a day for 35 days and took donations for the theatre.

The sale of works of art from the Wickenden Collection a generous donation of art and books to the theatre, has raised a further £850 since the opening.

Theatr Gwaun alongside other venues throughout Wales is lobbying the Welsh Government to refine current rules to allow small scale musical and theatrical performances.

It is hoping to then run a series of live daytime programme of live events which will take place between 11 am and 2pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, featuring local performers and speakers.

Collaboration with AberJazz and Fishguard Folk Festival has lead to a talented line up of local musicians waiting to showcase their skills at the venue. It is then hoped to include local musical and dramatic groups including Best Foot Forward, FADDS and Fishguard Musical Theatre Society at a later date.

Sue Whitbread Theatr Gwaun's CEO said:

"Martha's embodies the spirit of Pembrokeshire's hospitality. As soon as possible this will include regular day time live performances.

"In the meantime, we are screening archive footage, filmed musical performances and hosting art exhibitions."


Martha's is open Thursday- Saturday from 11am to 2 pm.