The main Arts Centre building is currently closed, but we’re working hard to prepare for reopening. We want to ensure that you’re as comfortable and as confident as possible returning to the Arts Centre and are looking forward to welcoming you back!
We’ve compiled some of the most common questions about the Arts Centre opening. Read on for all the information!
Last updated: 16/09/2020
When are you reopening?
We had hoped to open our doors for visitors again in September, albeit in a very limited way in terms of activity. Unfortunately, the Arts Centre was affected by flooding in August which has meant all the flooring in the top two levels having to be replaced. This is likely to take some time, and realistically we won’t be in a position to reopen fully until November. It’s a double whammy of bad luck, but on a positive note, we’ll return with nice new flooring! The lower level wasn’t affected to badly so we have been able to restart the Dance School from September and also the Piazza Café will open for takeaway. We’re certainly not closed for good, we will be back soon!
How will social distancing be maintained within the Arts Centre?
We ask all visitors to follow Welsh Government guidelines with regards social distancing. We will mark out guides on floors next to areas where people may congregate such as the Box Office.
We will restrict the number of people allowed in each room or auditorium, in accordance with current guidelines.
We will provide alternative ways of looking after you that minimizes your contact with other people – including cashless payments, online booking and takeaway services.
What are your handwashing facilities?
We will have hand sanitizing facilities throughout the building - by our main doors, in all our toilets, in workshop spaces, offices and backstage. We ask that every visitor to the Arts Centre sanitizes their hands before entering the venue and will have sanitizing units by the main entrances.
What are your cleaning regimes?
The building will be fully cleaned using appropriate products every day prior to opening. Then throughout our opening hours our Operations Team will be cleaning all ‘touch points’ (door handles, hand rails etc.) and toilets on a regular rolling rota to make sure everything is kept clean. We’re very grateful to the whole team for keeping us safe. If you’ve got any concerns then please speak to our Duty Manager – they’ll be on hand for any questions or concerns you might have.
What about parking?
The Arts Centre is lucky to have onsite parking adjacent to the venue. Although noted for their ‘snug’ spaces, we think that you should find them a lot quieter than usual as so many campus-based staff are currently working from home. If there’s space to park away from other cars that will help you minimize any chance of you breaking social distancing guidelines.
When will live performances start up again?
We are following government advice on when this might be possible, while also being aware of how we need to look after audiences, performers and our staff. Although it feels beyond strange to have an empty theatre and concert hall, we will only begin to offer live performances when it is safe to do so. It’s looking very likely that the majority of events will not start up again until Spring 2021. Any live events that do take place will be with greatly reduced capacities - this will further limit the scale of show we’re able to put on. Please bear with us – we miss live shows as much as we know you do, but we have to be patient.
Are your exhibitions open?
As soon as the flooring work is finished, one of the first areas of the Arts Centre’s activities that we can start up again will be the access to the visual arts. In Gallery 1 we will be restricting the numbers in the space at any given time, and marking up an advised ‘one-way’ system around the exhibition. Walls and areas around the building will also be used for display, to help give plenty of room for the art, and for people to see it. Luckily we’ve got lots of space to do this. We’ll be having exhibitions on for longer periods to give everyone a chance to see them, and offering virtual gallery options for those who are unable to visit just yet.
How about films?
We are hoping to begin a programme of film screenings as soon as we are able. We’ll be working to government guidelines on how many people we can admit to auditoria, so to make sure social distancing is possible we are looking to move our screenings into the theatre to give you extra space. All being well once the flooring work is finished we hope to reintroduce a cinema programme from November onwards.
What about refunds – can I change my mind about going to see something?
Yes, you can change your mind. If you have booked for an event or activity but are worried and don’t feel comfortable attending then get in touch and we can either give you a credit note or refund you, whichever you prefer. If you could give us 48 hours’ notice that would be really appreciated, but we’d rather you feel happy about your visit so call us any time.
Similarly if you start to feel a bit under the weather then just get in touch and we’ll give you a refund. We know that living in a Covid-19 world is a bit like being on an emotional rollercoaster at times, so we want to give you the flexibility to visit on your own terms.
Is the Café open?
To begin with our Piazza café will return from mid-September with a takeaway service only. We’ll have benches outside on the piazza and also on Chapel Court (the grassy area just by the entrance) for you to use. Once the flooring work is completed the main café will reopen and we will set out tables inside the building – we’re lucky to have lots of room to space out the tables. We’re also looking at table service rather than queuing at the counter.
Is the bar open?
We’ll be reopening the bar again once the flooring work is finished and we reopen, in November. Until then we’ll have a limited option of drinks available in the Piazza Café for takeaway.
What about the shops?
Again, we’re on hold until the flooring work is done. But from November we will reopen with a new-look shop! We will have a one-way system for you to follow, and will be limiting the numbers of people allowed in at any time. Hard though it is, we ask customers to refrain from touching items unless they are purchasing, out of consideration for others.
My child attends dance classes, when are they starting up again?
In line with schools reopening, we are resuming dance classes, from September. However numbers in the dance studios will be restricted so the timetable will be changing to give time for us to fit in repeated sessions for busy classes, and to clean the space in-between sessions. Full details will be sent out to all class attenders and if you have any questions or concerns then please get in touch.
Will Youth Theatre and Stage School start again in September too?
We’re looking to run LAMDA sessions online until half term, but plans are underway for Stage School to return in person from October. Get in touch with our Creative Learning team for more details!
Will I have to wear a mask to visit the Arts Centre?
Yes, Welsh Government guidelines on mask wearing are clear that masks must be worn indoors in public buildings. Participants in dance classes can remove their masks once in the dance studios where social distanced grids are clearly marked out on the floors. But all visitors and Arts Centre staff must wear masks as they move around the building, and in auditoria once we reopen.
How will ‘Track and Trace’ affect my visit?
We will need to keep a record of every visitor who comes into the Arts Centre in order to provide data for the Welsh Government’s Track and Trace processes. We will be using an easy use QR code that you can scan on your phone to record your visit. Data will be kept securely, following GDPR guidance and regulations, and it will not be shared with any other third party beyond the Track and Trace service, or used for any other purpose than Track and Trace.
Will the box office be open?
Our box office hasn’t closed throughout the pandemic! The team will continue to work at home where they can dial into our ticketing software and phone system – technology is a wonderful thing! Once we reopen we will have a limited service in the building, in addition to the working from home team. We’re looking to introduce ticketless systems (using bar code scanners) and don’t forget you can book online or via the phone like usual.
While social distancing is in place we’re going to have limited capacity in all our events, and we’ll be looking to seat you in your family groups/bubbles and then block seats around you – it’s going to take a bit of getting used to for all of us, so please bear with us.
Got a question that hasn’t been answered?
We hope we’ve covered all the vital info, but if you’ve got any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch!