About Theatr Colwyn
ACTOR and writer Celyn Jones is the new patron of Theatr Colwyn.
Celyn, who is originally from Holyhead, recently visited the cinema and theatre for a screening and Q & A session of ‘Set Fire To The Stars’ which he co-wrote and starred in as Dylan Thomas.
He joins Colwyn Bay-born Terry Jones, of Monty Python, as patron of Theatr Colwyn, a Victorian building which opened in the 1880s, started showing films in January 1909 and is the oldest working cinema in the UK and the oldest working theatre in Wales.
He said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be asked to be a patron at Theatr Colwyn.
“When I presented my film there earlier this year I was knocked sideways by the venue’s heritage, its technical ability - seriously the film looked and sounded amazing there - the great attitude of the people and its beating vibrant heart.
“It is so important that these individual cinemas retain their individuality and identity as that’s what defines them in a competitive market.
“How often do we hear things like ‘Oh that pub there used to be a great cinema’ or ‘that supermarket was a beautiful theatre’?
“Well, Theatr Colwyn is both those things, its alive and well and in my beloved North Wales. I’m proud to be its patron alongside one of my comedy heroes Terry Jones. I can’t wait to get involved.”
Phil Batty, manager of Theatr Colwyn, said: “All of us here at Theatr Colwyn are looking forward to welcoming Celyn back on his next visit to us as our patron and to working with him in the near future.
Cllr Graham Rees, Conwy County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for theatres, welcomed Celyn to his new role: “We are thrilled to have Celyn Jones as a new patron of Theatr Colwyn.
“He joins Monty Python member Terry Jones as patron of this thriving cinema and theatre, which holds an important place in the history of film screening and theatrical performance not just in Wales, but in the UK as a whole.”
Set Fire To The Stars, in which Celyn appears opposite Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) recently opened to rave reviews at the Miami Film Festival and will open in New York City in May.
The film has so far had nominations for The Michael Powell award for Best British Film, EIFF Audience award, Lighthouse Media awards for Best Film, MIFF Audience award and the Best Screenplay award at Miami Film Festival.
Celyn, who has just become an ambassador for the film charity Into Film, is attached to play Harry Secombe in the film ‘Major Goon’ which he’s written the screenplay and is also the writer behind the thriller ‘The Devil to Pay’ which will be directed by Danish director Kristoffer Nyholm and goes into production later this year.
DIGITAL CINEMA IS COMING TO THEATR COLWYN!
The first films were screened at Theatr Colwyn in January, 1909. Now, 104 years later, the venue has been awarded grant funding totalling £50,000 from the North Wales Coast Regeneration Fund as part of the Bay Life+ Regeneration Programme
and Arts Council of Wales to replace traditional 35mm film projection with the latest in Sony 4K digital film projection.
The projection upgrade will not only make Theatr Colwyn the most technically advanced cinema in North Wales, it will also make the future of the cinema itself much more secure.
Sarah Ecob, General Manager, said: “We are very grateful for the support of the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales in making this upgrade possible.
“Our new state of the art equipment will enable us to continue to present the latest films, improve access for those with sight and hearing loss and open up the world of live transmissions to us.
“We are all very excited by the possibilities before us and are looking forward to showing off our facilities at a glamorous fund raising screening of Skyfall on March 21st”
Manager Phil Batty said: “We were becoming extremely concerned about the future of the cinema here, as distributors are slowly stopping the production of new films on 35mm.
“We know that making this huge shift to digital is an enormous step, but we have to move with the times and we are so grateful to be successful in our application bids.
“It will be very sad to see 35mm go but this new technology will allow us to give our patrons a fabulous cinematic experience.”
Terry Jones, former Monty Python, is patron of Theatr Colwyn. The Colwyn Bay-born actor, writer and director, is thrilled with the grants announcement. He said: “This is a brilliant thing for Theatr Colwyn! I’m so pleased they got the funding for the digital cinema. It brings the whole theatre into the digital age.”
Theatr Colwyn has a thriving cinema audience, with patrons enjoying a wide range of films screened, including blockbusters, animated movies for children, independent films, foreign language and art house.
Fans of live performance will also benefit from the technology upgrade, as ‘alternative content’ such as plays, operas and ballets will be beamed live via satellite direct to Theatr Colwyn from venues all over the world.
The upgrading of technology will also help people with sight and hearing problems get more from their visits.
A new induction loop system is being installed which assists the hearing and visually impaired by transmitting sound direct to a hearing aid equipped with a telecoil (T-position) or on-ear headphones supplied by the theatre to patrons on request.
Theatr Colwyn reopened 19 months ago, following closure of almost a year whilst a major front of house redevelopment was carried out.
New house lights are soon to be installed in the auditorium and customers who visit the theatre have been making donations towards the cost of redeveloping the backstage area.
THEATR COLWYN COMMUNITY ROOM
As part of the redevelopment, Theatr Colwyn now offers an upstairs community room for hire from £7.50 per hour.
The community rooms seats 48 people and hire includes the use of an LCD projector, PA and kitchen.
The space is suitable for meetings / conferences / art displays / small tabletop sales and much more.
Download our Seating Plan (PDF)
‘Theatr Colwyn – the UK’s oldest operating cinema’
It was more than 126 years ago that the venue now known as Theatr Colwyn first opened its doors to the public.
Back in the 1880s, it was then called a Public Hall – as the stone plaque at the top of the building still testifies – but it’s uses were many, just as they are today – a place of entertainment, for discussions, dances and fundraising events.
We are pleased to announce that recent investigations in public archives revealed the venue is now the UK’s oldest operating cinema.
The first screenings took place in January, 1909, when the building was run by the entrepreneur Harry Reynolds.
Time, taste and technology have all taken giant leaps since then, but the venue and its small group of staff, volunteers and supporters, led by manager Phil Batty, still operate at the very heart of the community, as those in charge of the venue did all those years ago.
Theatr Colwyn is a receiving theatre, seating 329 people (including wheelchair spaces) and hosts a wide variety of performances ranging from dance and drama to rock music concerts, Welsh language shows and a very popular Christmas pantomime.
It has a thriving cinema audience who enjoy not only the latest blockbuster releases on the big screen, but also independent, classic and foreign language films, courtesy of the Rialto Film Night.
The venue is available to hire (please contact Phil Batty for rates), as is the newly installed recording studio and rehearsal room. A bar selling alcohol and soft beverages is available before and during the interval at most live performances.
We are privileged to have Terry Jones as our patron, the Colwyn Bay-born Monty Python, actor, writer and director.