Expansion pays off for Theatr Mwldan
1:26pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
A not-for-profit arts centre in West Wales has increased its turnover, expanded its workforce and developed a new digital cinema screen after a major expansion last year.
Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan began life as a community theatre project in the 1980s and has since transformed itself into an award-winning arts and entertainment complex.
After securing loan funding from the Welsh Government-backed Communities Investment Fund at the end of 2011, Mwldan embarked on a development that saw a new 101-seat digital cinema open its doors last summer.
The Communities Investment Fund is managed by WCVA and specialises in helping not-for-profit enterprises and charities access loans that they wouldn’t be able to obtain from commercial lenders.
Six months after opening the new cinema, Mwldan has boosted its sales by 37.9 per cent, created three new jobs and is on course to increase its cinema screenings by 1,000 to 3,000 annually – in addition to its programme of live events and exhibitions.
The new screen - Mwldan 3 – is equipped with high quality digital projection and can present live satellite broadcasts and digital 3D. It was developed alongside the venue’s two existing screens to make Mwldan the first independent all-digital three-screen cinema in Wales.
Reflecting on the expansion, Dilwyn Davies, Chief Executive at Mwldan, said: ‘The opening of Mwldan 3 was our biggest development for eight years and is helping to maintain Theatr Mwldan at the forefront of digital cinema development.
‘Planned screenings have now increased from 2000 per year to 3000, and this extra capacity has allowed us to significantly enhance the variety of our cinema programme.
‘We are now able to show an increased number of films on release date, and have also been able to lengthen the runs of popular Box Office films such as Skyfall, Quartet and Les Miserables.
‘In turn, this is also allowing us to increase our turnover through extra screen advertising revenue.’
In addition to the loan through WCVA, the new digital cinema was also supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Ceredigion County Council and the Digital Funding Partnership.
Dilwyn Davies added: ‘This has been a fantastic development which is providing the local community with a significantly improved choice of titles, more films on their national release dates, and an experience featuring the very latest in digital cinema technology.
‘As a not-for-profit enterprise, every penny we earn is ploughed back into the organisation, ensuring that the venue, and in turn Cardigan, remains well and truly on the map as a leading cultural destination and hub for West Wales.’
Communities Investment Fund manager at WCVA, Matthew Brown, commented: 'We are providing loans to not-for-profit organisations to help them generate new income streams and create local employment through enterprise that has a positive community impact.
‘This is a great example because our investment has helped Mwldan increase their turnover and employ more people while developing a community asset and improving leisure opportunities for the local community.
‘Through the Communities Investment Fund, our Property Loan Fund with Unity Trust Bank and our Micro-loans fund with Finance Wales there is now a complete range of small, medium and large loan finance packages specific to the third sector in Wales through WCVA.’
A spokesperson on behalf of the Arts Council of Wales added: ‘The development of Mwldan 3 joins the venue’s two existing screens to make Mwldan the first independent all-digital three-screen cinema in Wales. Mwldan 3 has created tremendous improvements to the theatre as a whole, creating significant new economic opportunities in Cardigan and regenerating the whole area surrounding the theatre.
‘The long term aspirations surrounding Mwldan 3 are to provide further opportunities to expand the presentation programme and increase income through sales.’