Progress report on revitalising the historic Muni in Pontypridd

Written by on 30th May 2024

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has shared an update on the major redevelopment of the Muni Arts Centre – with excellent progress being made to create a modern arts and events hub while enhancing and conserving the building’s original features.

The multi-million pound redevelopment started in 2023, to revitalise the much-loved Pontypridd landmark. The Muni is a gothic-style, Grade II Listed building in the heart of the town, originally built as a Weslyan Chapel in 1895. More recently it became a recognised and valued regional hub for arts and music.

In 2019, the Council and Awen Cultural Trust (Awen) announced ambitious plans to redevelop the Muni into a fully-accessible arts venue, while repairing and refurbishing the building’s Gothic features. In 2021, £5.3m funding from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund was secured for the project.

‘Y Muni’ will be operated by Awen, offering a varied and inclusive programme of live music, comedy and event cinema. The venue will have a new bar designed over two stories to support the leisure and night-time economy, while the auditorium is being refurbished and the foyer, mezzanine and bar areas are being remodelled. Lifts, toilets, dressing rooms and Changing Place facilities are also being installed within the building.

The Council’s update at the end of May 2024 is pleasingly reporting very good progress being made towards the works programme, with the project on course to be completed as planned this summer.

As previously announced, ‘Y Muni’ will be a key supporting site for wider events during the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2024, which is being hosted at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park in Pontypridd from August 3-10. The venue will then formally open to the public as an arts and events hub later this year.

Since starting work on site in September 2023, the Council’s contractor Knox and Wells has worked closely with the Council and Awen to achieve several key milestones. Externally, these include stonework repairs, thorough building cleaning, constructing a new roof, installing photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, creating new openings into the ground floor section of the bar, and replacing windows.

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Internally, milestones include completing the auditorium ceiling, high-level work in the auditorium including mechanical and electrical services, installing a new gallery in the auditorium, forming a mezzanine in the bar area, creating the lift shaft, and installing an air handling unit for mechanical ventilation.

Some of the key activities that will be completed by the contractor in the weeks ahead include putting in place the flooring in the auditorium, installing the retractable seating area, and fitting out the bar and kitchen areas.

Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said:

“I was delighted to visit the Muni Arts Centre earlier this month to see the progress on the redevelopment – and the works completed to date, towards refurbishing this historic building, are incredibly impressive. I’m very confident that ‘Y Muni’ will re-establish itself as an events venue that Pontypridd and Rhondda Cynon Taf can be very proud of, and I can’t wait for the public to see inside the building once it is complete.

“We continue to work very closely with Awen Cultural Trust over its operation of the venue, drawing upon its wealth of experience in running such cultural facilities and establishing a sustainable future for them. ‘Y Muni’ will first be used as a venue in the National Eisteddfod of Wales, which we’re very excited to be hosting in Pontypridd this August – before opening in its own right later in the year. The Council will communicate these arrangements once finalised.”

The Muni Arts Centre redevelopment project has been made possible thanks to £5.3m funding support that was secured by the Council from the first round of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, during late 2021.


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