Building Development

Since the Arts Centre first opened its doors its facilities have continually been developing and evolving. Over the 80s and 90s workshops, studios, cafes, shops and bars opened in an organic nature and with the minimum of resources to meet demand and to help fund the artistic programme.

The advent of Lottery Funding through the Arts Council of Wales opened doors for a major redevelopment project which was four years in the planning, two years in the making and opened to the public in April 2000. The £4.3 million award winning redevelopment project was designed by architect Peter Roberts, and added a stunning new gallery space, purpose built workshop spaces, a cinema, dance studios, a studio theatre and enhanced the theatre foyer space, whilst working in harmony with the original structure of the building. The project received £2.6 million from the ACW Lottery Scheme.

Further development continued into the new millennium. In the Spring of 2009 a new £1.25 million redevelopment was completed to add an artists and creative industries studios complex, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, one of the UK’s top designers which gained the Arts Centre its third Royal Institute Of British Architects Award and the only Civic Trust Award to be granted in Wales in 2010.

The Creative Units provide a home for the Arts Centre's major Artists in Residence Programme for UK and international visual artists funded by trusts and foundations and cultural organisations in Finland, Canada, Australia and Pakistan. The units were fully occupied from the moment they opened, with a range of resident artists, crafts workers, film makers, new media and creative businesses working alongside each other and creating a cultural hub. Additional units funded by the Arts Council of Wales and National Assembly were completed in August 2011 in response to the demand by artists and creative companies wanting to be part of the thriving artistic community.

The success of these development is seen in the increase in all the indicators comparing 2000 to 2010, with annual attendances at performances and events up from 56,000 to 100,000 annually; participation in community arts from 30,000 to 86,000 annually; attendance at exhibitions up from 40,000 to 200,000 annually; cinema attendance up from 5,000 to 46,000 annually and total annual turnover up from £1.4 million to £4.4 million, with earned income making up 78% in comparison to the UK average of 45%.

Today Aberystwyth Arts Centre, as an integral part of the University, is the major interface with the local and regional community and a contributor to the consistent high ratings for student satisfaction at Aberystwyth. It receives significant support from the Arts Council of Wales towards fulfilling its role as a major regional Arts Centre and also from Ceredigion County Council. The developments over the last ten years have made the University‘s Arts Centre into one of the largest performing and visual arts complexes in the UK outside London, situated at the very centre of the University campus and welcoming over 750,000 visitors a year.