Work has started to expand a centre in Pontardawe.

The Pontardawe Arts Centre has begun its anticipated expansion and upgrading process, including adding a new 70-seat cinema.

The project, which also includes improvements to existing facilities, aims to overhaul the local institution, enabling it to screen the latest Hollywood releases - something it was previously unable to do.

The upgrade plans feature improvements to the café and bar, a redesigned ticket office area, and various cosmetic enhancements to elevate the centre's facilities.

The project has received a substantial grant from the Arts Council of Wales (£600,000), an additional contribution from the Welsh Government's Transforming Towns programme (£250,000) and the rest of the funding is coming from Neath Port Talbot Council's Capital programme.

South Wales Guardian: What the inside is set to look like following the revampWhat the inside is set to look like following the revamp (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

The project aligns with the council’s ambitions as depicted in its Culture Strategy, reflecting the council's dedication to investing in culture for improving economic growth and community well-being.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet member for nature, tourism and wellbeing, Cllr Cen Phillips, said: “The council recognises the positive impact of this project on local valleys communities, offering enhanced recreational and cultural facilities. Furthermore, the revised staffing structure for the expanded Arts Centre is expected to create jobs."

Cllr Phillips further added: "The decision to proceed with the cinema project is in line with the council's commitment to cultural enrichment, economic growth, and community well-being. Neath Port Talbot Council looks forward to the successful completion of this transformative project.”

Arts Council of Wales chief executive Dafydd Rhys said: “Arts Council of Wales is delighted to support this development in partnership with Neath Port Talbot Council.

"Our mission is to make it possible for the arts to be present in the lives of everyone in Wales, and the extension to the current Pontardawe Arts Centre will have a unique design and help to ensure future sustainability of this important community asset.”

While the construction phase is underway, the centre will continue to stay operational as usual. Public updates on the project will be available on the Pontardawe Arts Centre website.