Theatr Mwldan: Sales rise after digital cinema expansion
An arts centre in Ceredigion is bucking the economic downturn after a major expansion last year has seen sales rise by nearly 40% and new jobs created.
The not-for-profit Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan began life as a community theatre project in the 1980s and has since become an entertainment complex.
A new 101-seat digital cinema opened its doors last year after Mwldan secured a Welsh government-backed loan.
It was developed alongside the venue's two existing digital screens.
Six months on and Mwldan said its sales had increased by 38%.
It has also created three jobs and is on course to increase its cinema screenings by 1,000 to 3,000 a year.
The loan came from the communities investment fund, managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), and specialises in helping not-for-profit enterprises and charities access loans that they would not be able to obtain from commercial lenders.
The new screen - Mwldan 3 - can present live satellite broadcasts and digital 3D. The arts centre claims it is the first independent all-digital three-screen cinema in Wales.
Chief executive Dilwyn Davies 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."
The digital cinema was also supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Ceredigion council and the Digital Funding Partnership.
Mr 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."
An Arts Council of Wales spokesperson added: "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."