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The Albert Hall Theatre, Llandrindod Wells

Registered Charity: 524464

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The Albert Hall Theatre

Llandrindod Wells

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Albert Hall (right), with adjoining Presbyterian Church (left)


The Albert Hall is Mid Wales’ oldest venue. Built in 1896, the Hall is a beautiful Victorian  theatre in Llandrindod Wells.


1890s

In the 1890’s, 80 to 90,000 visitors came to Llandrindod each year for spa treatment and rest. Many were Welsh speakers. The Presbyterian Church needed somewhere to hold Welsh language services and social events. Owen Morris Roberts drew up the plans, and church members started fund-raising. The hall was completed in 1896 at a total cost of £2,000. It comprised:


The exterior was much as it is today, except for the main doors, canopy and steps. Edward Jenkins, a member of the church, suggested its name - the Albert Hall.


1900s

In 1905, the adjoining church was rebuilt. At the same time, the Albert Hall’s basement was converted into a church schoolroom.


First World War

In 1914, the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) billeted 4,000 men in Llandrindod for training. They used the Hall for events and entertainment. Llandrindod held it's second annual eisteddfod in March 1915 at the Albert Hall.


Between the wars

After the war, membership of the church began to decline, and the hall was no longer needed. The committee decided that a theatre and cinema would be of value to the town. So in 1922, the Albert Hall re-opened as a theatre and cinema. A foyer, with Art Deco detailing, designed by Owen Morris Roberts & Son was added. The exterior of the building, foyer and auditorium remain to this day much as they were then.  


With the advent of "Talkies" - films with sound - in 1929, the Albert Hall discontinued its role as a cinema. The church gave the silent cinematograph unit to Bronllys sanatorium.


It was at this time that the Llandrindod Wells Drama festival was launched. The week-long festival ran every year (except for the war years) until 2013. But other than that, the Albert Hall, like the town, saw a downturn in its fortunes.


Second World War

In 1939, Llandrindod again became a training base for thousands of troops. With lectures in the day, and entertainment every evening, the Albert Hall was in full use once more. Many of the troops who graced the stage would become household names. But of course, as the troops withdrew at the end of the war, so the audiences dwindled.


1950s

The church continued to hold Welsh services in the Albert Hall until 1951. Then in 1958, a local firm, Campbell & Edward,s bought it for use as an auction house.


1960s

In 1962, the townspeople of Llandrindod Wells bought the Albert Hall for £2,000. A management committee, comprised of representatives from local organisations would run the theatre. The community raised more money, but the necessary repairs and running costs took up most of it.   

 

1970s

With help from the Welsh Arts Council, the Committee drew up a programme of improvements. It would cost £20,000, and so the fundraising started again.


In 1973, the "Friends of the Albert Hall " fund was launched, and brought in over £1,000 from local organisations. The Committee approached local councils and organisations, and the money was raised. The improvements included a central heating system, rewiring, repainting and decorating. Technical improvements, fire precautions and a new canopy were also added.


1980s and 90s

The local theatre company took over the management of the building. In 1981, the Albert Hall was Grade II Listed, in order for the building to be preserved and protected. Regular events included  a yearly pantomime, the drama festival and Young Farmers competitions. A bar was created between the kitchen and Lesser Hall, licensed to serve alcohol to audiences.


2000s

In 2007,  a £115,000 restoration project began. This included a new roof. It was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Union, and other sponsors.


2010s

It was agreed that management of the theatre should revert to a management committee. Shortly after, the Albert Hall Management Committee was re-established. The theatre was registered as a charity (charity number 524464).   

Since then, the theatre has undergone further improvement. The original asbestos was removed and the curtains replaced in 2016. A new heating system was installed in 2019, along with upgraded electrics. And of course, the theatre is constantly in need of redecoration! Our next projects will be to upgrade the toilets, Lesser Hall and backstage areas. But, of course, it all costs money!

Hanes y neuadd History of the hall

Asbestos removed, and new curtains!

Removal of Asbestos in progress

Installing the new heating system!

Our old boiler!