We registered with Companies House in Cardiff in June 2016 as a not for profit community interest company. The company’s objectives are to promote wellbeing, education and employment through the arts, on a low cost, low barrier basis. None of our Directors are paid; they all give their time on a voluntary basis. We are very fortunate to have excellent advisers, also voluntary, a team of committed volunteers and a trusty all-weather caretaker.
In March 2017 we took on the management of the Melville Centre in behalf of Monmouthshire County Council and in January 2019 M.C.C. approved our application for community asset transfer of most of the site of Abergavenny’s former Grammar School. This will take place once we have secured funding to restore the buildings and develop the site.
We are managing the Melville as an inclusive Centre for the Arts for the community, offering live and screened events in the theatre, opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in specialist areas of the arts, and to explore Welsh culture – and learn Welsh. We’d like to know what sort of events and which areas of learning and development you’d like to see available at the Melville Centre. If you would like to participate in planning the future of the site your responses to this online questionnaire would be most welcome.
These are some of the things that have been happening until recently:
Weekly groups: Until the pandemic intervened, on a weekly basis the Melville was hosting
- an Arts Council for Wales sponsored diverse ability drama group for adults: the Blodeuo Project,
- two theatre groups for children and for young people under the Rareseed Theatre Company banner,
- Stitch Together: a crafting group,
- Writing for Fun – a creative writing group for all levels,
- thirteen Welsh classes a week for adults delivered by Coleg Gwent tutors,
- a thriving ukulele group and
- individual drumming lessons.
The majority of these groups will re-convene once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Let us have your suggestions for new classes and workshops. We can tailor learning to your needs and we have plenty of well-equipped space available and disabled access.
Workshops and Talks with Q&A : over the last four years we have hosted many one-off participative events and several series of workshops, talks, craft sessions, hands on art sessions, poetry and play readings, mostly for adults – and several for young people.
Regular meetings of community groups and local organisations: we host regular meetings of local groups, several of which are open to the general public on an ad hoc basis: the Civic Society, Abergavenny Town Team, political parties, interest groups and social and support groups like Epilepsy Action.
Our programme of events in the theatre: Abergavenny Film Society screens films fortnightly from September – April every year, Black Mountain Jazz puts on an annual jazz festival and a monthly gig on the last Sunday of the month, we have plays presented by local theatre companies Rareseed, The Play Group and Suitcase Theatre Company, and by touring companies often sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales, live music events with local and touring performers, and Louby Lou Storytelling: little shows for young children, at half term and in the holidays. Subscribers to our newsletter and programme of events will receive information three times a year. You can sign up to subscribe here…
Abergavenny Arts festival: in both June 2018 and 2019 the Melville Centre hosted around 20 Abergavenny Arts Festival events: craft, painting and photography exhibitions and workshops, creative writing workshops, theatre, jazz and craft workshops for children, film and live theatre – and we are already planning for June 2021. Share your ideas with us about what you’d like to see at Abergavenny Art Festival next year!
The Melville Centre for the Arts CIC (MCA CIC) is a not for profit, limited by guarantee company.
Our volunteer board of directors seeks to ensure the restoration of the Grade 2 listed buildings of Abergavenny’s former King Henry V111 Grammar School, thus to preserve the site’s heritage for future generations of the local community and increase its appeal to the many visitors to the town.
Working with the community all the way, it is our aim to construct a sustainable 21st Century Arts Centre, with good amenities, on the Pen y Pound site, extending the range of inclusive activities, events and learning currently available.
In 2016 the listed buildings and much of the site was identified by Monmouthshire County Council as available for community asset transfer (CAT).
In January 2019, after many discussions, MCC agreed a procedure for community asset transfer of the site to Melville Centre for the Arts CIC.
Our business plan 2018 – 2021is convincing; it reflects the potential which can be unlocked by asset transfer of the town’s old grammar school buildings and grounds. Community asset transfer will be achieved when our applications for funding for agreed developments are successful. This may take some time yet, but progress is being made; the journey continues….
Melville Centre for the Arts CIC manages the main building of the Melville Centre, its classrooms, meeting rooms, coffee-bar, the Melville Theatre (75 seats) and office suites, one of which has been occupied for several years by Careers Wales’ regional team.
On site MCA CIC hosts Abergavenny Film Society, Black Mountain Jazz, Rare Seed Theatre Company, Suitcase Theatre Company, many Coleg Gwent Dysgu Cymraeg classes and several community groups, including Stitch Together, Writing for Fun, Uskelele, and Blodeuo, our Arts Council for Wales sponsored, diverse ability drama project.
In a separate building, (the old school’s much updated gymnasium), the popular and prestigious company Dance Blast has operated since 2008. Dance Blast offers the community a wide programme of dance, movement and circus skills which all generations appreciate.
Green Fingers, a diverse ability gardening project managed by Social Services, occupies suitably functional but very floral premises, is also on site, (but is not included in the asset transfer).