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Future of Cardiff’s historic New Theatre secured
The future of the New Theatre has been secured after Cardiff Council agreed a 25- year lease with one of the UK’s leading theatre operators. 

From early 2020 the much-loved theatre will be operated by HQ Theatres & Hospitality.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “The New Theatre is one of Cardiff’s most important cultural assets, but for many years it has cost the Council around £500,000 annually to operate.

This agreement with HQ Theatres and Hospitality, one of the UK’s leading theatre operators, will see the theatre operated without subsidy, generate money that can be invested in the structure of the building, and ensure the theatre’s doors stay open for many years to come.

“The deal is great for the theatre, great for Cardiff's theatre goers and great for all the New Theatre's staff whose jobs are safeguarded by this agreement."

The New Theatre will be the 13th venue run by HQ, a subsidiary of Qdos Entertainment group, with well-established links to the theatre.

Nick Thomas MBE, Chairman and Founder of Qdos Entertainment Group, said: “After 20 years of producing Wales’ biggest pantomime at the New Theatre we’ve come to know the venue and Cardiff audiences well.  That’s one of the reasons why it’s such a thrilling prospect for us to run the theatre.  

“We’re delighted to welcome the team at the New Theatre into the HQ and Qdos family – where they’ll benefit from being part of a supportive network of colleagues running our highly-successful theatres – and from the sharing of industry best practice which has become a hallmark of what we do.

“We’re excited to be taking the reins of this superb theatre - and to have the opportunity to work with partners at Cardiff Council to ensure the future success of this jewel in Cardiff’s crown.”

The bid from HQ was evaluated alongside proposals from six other interested parties.  Key features of the winning bid included:

  • 25-year lease agreement.
  • No requirement for operational subsidy from the Council.
  • Commitment from HQ to invest in the building over the term of the lease including refresh of the front-of-house areas.
  • Commitment to grow the programme from 335 productions in year 1 to 359 by year 3 and thereafter.
  • Commitment to maintain and enhance the mix of week-long musicals, ballet and drama.
  • Existing staff structure to be retained
  • Commitment to retain existing volunteer programme.  

Cllr Bradbury said: "It was really important to us that the successful bidder had experience in operating similar theatres, experience in maintaining historic buildings and the financial strength to make this work – HQ offer all those things and more, and we’re looking forward to working with them over the next 25 years.”