Whist The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre remains closed at present awaiting further guidance from the Welsh Government with regards to reopening, the team have continued to work hard behind the scenes on numerous wonderful projects and initiatives to keep the people of Newport engaged with the arts and creativity.

The Riverfront was fortunate enough to receive money from the Arts Council of Wales’ Stabilisation Fund, which has enabled the arts centre to invest in some brand-new digital recording equipment. The equipment has so far been used to support Le Public Space in live streaming their RIGHT NOW Online Theatre Festival, a week-long festival that showcased the new works of some of Wales’ most talented theatre makers and performance artists. 

Alan Dear, Head of Theatre, Arts and Culture commented ‘Whilst we are unable to open we are thrilled to be able to continue to engage with the people of Newport and help bring new live entertainment to our audiences. Thanks to the grant we received from the Arts Council of Wales’ Stabilisation Fund I am delighted to be able to provide technical support for Le Pub and this fantastic festival and use our new live streaming equipment for the first time.’This digital equipment also allowed the technical department to live stream Art on the Hill activity that took place in November. The team took viewers on a tour of Newport and all the wonderful creativity that was on display for the festival. The footage can still be enjoyed online on The Riverfront’s Youtube channel: 

For Art on the Hill, The Riverfront was turned into a giant exhibition space with local artists displaying their works in the windows around the building. The exhibition included the works of local creatives TEMMAH & Sons, Becky Lewis, Laura Wiseman, Vin Dyke Art and many more, all of which could be seen and enjoyed from outside the building. Read the full list of exhibitors here.

The Riverfront’s Arts Development Team have also been working closely with Tin Shed Theatre Company assisting with the ‘Happenus’ project. Happenus is a trilogy of socially distanced joy filled happenings and participations with local artists and community collaborators. It is a concept that looks at how we view, connect and interact with our homes, people and places. It seeks to ask questions, and challenge perceptions through interaction and adaptation of place and space.

The first part of the trilogy, Twinning, is a project about making new connections that asks you to find your address twin and write them a letter with the aim of forging new connections at a time when face to face contact is unfortunately limited. Find out more about Twinning and get involved here.

The second part of the trilogy, Advent, brought together Tin Shed, The Riverfront and Casnewydd Community Cycling to form the ‘Newport Elf Service.’  Each Saturday in December in the run but to Christmas the Elf Service delivered bundles of joy which included gifts, craft materials and toiletries to families and organisations in need as a way of spreading Christmas cheer. Some of the organisations who received gifts were Feed Newport, Newport Youth Service, Community House, The Share Centre and Leonard Cheshire. 

Sally-Anne Evans, Community Arts Development Officer commented 'This was a lovely project to be involved with. Danielle our Education and Participation Officer worked with fantastic volunteers to create over 150 beautiful packs. We have to thank David the Chief Elf from Casnewydd Community Cycling for spreading a bit of Christmas joy over the last few weeks. They brought a lot of joy to people who saw them cycling by dressed as elves and jingling all the way! People were very touched to receive a gift, and to some families this may be the only present they receive, which made it all the more special.'

Elves dropping off presents to a young girl   Newport Elf Service - Elves with bikes

Looking towards the new year The Riverfront are planning to work with more local organisations and expand on the live streaming opportunities the new recording equipment provides. This includes working with COBRA Music Studio to stream some of their recording sessions and also working with local artists to record online theatre content.

Newport Live and The Riverfront will also be launching the Arts Hub, a digital database that will bring a range of organisations, artists and practitioners together in one place so that audiences can discover and enjoy the arts and creativity digitally.

In the meantime, keep up to date with the Riverfront and arts opportunities by following The Riverfront on social media. Online theatre opportunities, activities and resources can also be accessed on the Newport Live website here

The Riverfront would like to once again thank audiences for your positive feedback and support this year. We will come back stronger than ever in 2021 and look forward to the day we can once again welcome you back through our doors. As Newport Live is a non-profit distribution organisation and charity, we are very grateful for your continued support. You can find out how you can support us here.  

We look forward to seeing you very soon. Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year and stay safe and well.