The Old Town Hall

Pontypridd has a rich history and tradition of performance and music. From choirs, to bands, orchestras, and opera, Pontypridd has been the home of talent. This was greatly celebrated in the industrial heyday of the late 19th to early 20th centuries and provided a shared cause to unite and uplift the community.

Since the gradual decline of the mining industry through the late 20th century, the connection of generations to the steel and coal industries was lost, as was the shared purpose of the town. Poor developments made in the 1970s also built over the charm of Pontypridd in places.

This proposal aims to bring an exciting new life to the abandoned Town Hall theatre – a characterful and centrally located building – with emphasis on investing in the community spirit of Pontypridd, by creating valuable spaces for people to meet and express themselves in the centre of town. As an extension of the public realm, the foyer maintains a strong connection between the market and theatre and becomes a key meeting place, and the performance space can be adapted to suit the needs of the people of Pontypridd.

With the existing walls of the Town Hall Theatre retained, the original volume of the theatre becomes an open, flexible performance space supported by a new arched timber structure. Timber pods inserted into the existing brickwork hold the private back of house spaces. A gridded rail system spanning the whole performance space supports movable partitions to adapt the space to accommodate community groups and professional performers alike.

Image showing an abstract collage exploring the spirit of Pontypridd

Imaginative response exploring the community spirit, expression and theatricality of Pontypridd.

Images showing a model of the site from above, proposed changes to the site and a concept sketch of the changes

Removal of poor 1970s developments to uncover the Town Hall Theatre’s original façade and to open out a new public square in the centre of town.

Images exploring the theatricality of public spaces through sketches

The public realm as a place of performance.

The public square becomes the stage for a pop-up theatre performance inspired by Morfydd Owen – an unsung talent of Pontypridd – and her composition, Nocturne. The forest imagery derived from Nocturne inspired the timber arch forms taking over the original volume of the theatre.

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Work provided by Annabel Hocking

Email Id: HockingAK@cardiff.ac.uk