Welsh National Opera dishes up a new generation of opera with a Donizetti classic!

Follow the exploits of Welsh National Opera’s Don Pasquale in this riotous new version of Donizetti’s comic opera.WNO Don Pasquale Harriet Eyley Norina. Photo credit Jimmy Swindells 0750sm

After the success of the sold-out Rhondda Rips It Up! in 2018, Welsh National Opera return to The Riverfront on Saturday 25th May 2019 with a contemporary production that will amaze and amuse you.

Set in and around Pasquale’s doner kebab van, this is the story of an old bachelor’s romantic delusions and the young lovers who outwit him; with a modern-day twist. Bringing together an on-stage orchestra, and a cast of larger-than-life characters, this performance will be nothing like you’ve ever seen or heard before.
Transporting you to downtown Cardiff, this production positions itself very firmly in the present day, giving you a new perspective of this classic whist remaining true to the original themes of the opera. This new production is fresh, contemporary and unique and has been reimagined for a modern audience with current issues driving this classic comedy.

Director and librettist Daisy Evans says 'Pasquale is proud of his kebab van but has grown mean-minded and scared of modernisation. Ernesto and Norina stand for the future – calling for less plastic use, eco-conscious dining and stripped back design. The two sides are pitted against each other in a comedy that is bound to have you laughing as well as thinking.'
As well as attracting those who already know and love the story of Don Pasquale, WNO’s up to date production is perfect for introducing new audiences to opera, and changing the stereotypical perception that surrounds it.
Welsh National Opera explains 'Director Daisy Evans, musical director Stephen Higgins and designer Loren Elstein have ripped up the rule book and changed the design, narrative and libretto to bring Donizetti’s opera bang up to date.'

Whether Don Pasquale is your favourite opera of all time, or if you’ve never seen it before, this will be an intimate operatic production not to be missed. See it first at the Riverfront!
Join us on Saturday 25th May 2019 at 7:30pm for the premier performance of Don Pasquale. Tickets are available at, or call us today on 01633 656757.


Newport Walk for Dementia

The inaugural Newport Walk for Dementia around the city of Newport was a great success, raising over £6,000 to help people living with dementia.

Around 350 people took part on 7th April including representatives from Newport County AFC, Newport Live chair John Harrhy and other board members, local politicians and councillors including the Mayor Cllr Malcolm Linton. The 3km walk through the city of Newport was arranged to raise awareness and money for local services in the area for people affected by dementia. As part of the city’s commitment to be Dementia Friendly; Newport County, Newport Live (both Dementia Friendly organisations) and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru worked together on the project.

rsz 1hooping copy 2983

The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre were delighted to discover last week that they had been nominated for the Arts, Business & Brand Identity Award sponsored by Hern & Crabtree in the 2019 A&B Cymru Awards. The Awards, which have been running for over a quarter of a century, encourage, acknowledge and celebrate exemplary partnerships between the private sector and the arts.

The Riverfront received their nomination for their partnership with Western Power Distribution (WPD) for the Big Splash Festival, Newport’s much loved free outdoor arts and street theatre festival which in 2018 brought around 24,000 people into the city. The partnership created ‘Hoop Troupe,’ an opportunity for older people to come together to socialise, have fun and learn new skills through numerous workshops which took place at the Riverfront leading up to the Big Splash.

The project worked with local women’s community groups including Age Cymru Gwent, Age Alive and Coffee & Laughs, which was led by a local professional hula hoop and circus practitioner. This culminated in a hoop ‘flash mob’ on the morning of Saturday 21st July 2018 where the group showcased their new skills.

Started as a project to promote social inclusion through participation in a fun and inclusive activity, the project was a massive success with the Hoop Troupe seeing over 120 participate throughout the life of the project. Following a successful weekly workshop programme at The Riverfront, over 50 people took part in the Big Splash flash mob, before people of all ages watching in the crowd were invited to join them and join the fun.

After learning of the nomination, Olivia Harris, Creative Producer said ‘We are delighted that the Hoop Troupe project has been shortlisted for an Arts & Business award, in recognition of our community work with WPD, a long-standing supporter of The Big Splash and friend of Newport Live. The project successfully brought older people together from across the city, taught them a new physical skill in a fun and social way and created an exciting performance opportunity too. Projects like this couldn’t happen without the support of WPD, and we are thrilled that this collaboration has been recognised.’ 

WPD’s Corporate Communications Officer Karen Welch (pictured) said We believe it is the responsibility of large organisations like ours to play a full and active role in the communities they serve. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Newport Live. We are committed to supporting a range of projects especially those that relate to education, safety and the environment. We are delighted to be nominated, and it is always good to receive recognition like this.’

The Riverfront will discover if they have won the award at a ceremony at the Wales Millennium Centre on Thursday 11 July. Big Splash Festival will once again return to Newport on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 July 2019 for another weekend jam-packed with free events and performances for families and big kids.

as a tiger collage

As a Tiger in the Jungle is a poignant performance about rescued child slaves from Indian traditional circus, which comes to The Riverfront as part of a 14 date UK tour which includes high profile performances in The Brighton Fringe and Glastonbury Festival. Produced through an international partnership between artistic directors from NoFit State and Cirkus Xanti, this will be a unique theatrical circus experience!

Using spoken word, circus, movement and ceremony, three performers Renu Ghalan, Aman Tamang, and Loan Tp Hoang ask questions about life, poverty and greed, and tell us the story of how, against all odds, they survived child slavery to create their own destiny. The piece is a unique fusion of Asian and European performance, circus and music, set to an original score by Per Zanussi.  

The piece came about after producer Ali Williams was fortunate enough to spend a year working as the Creative Director with Circus Kathmandu in 2013, a contemporary circus group made up of 13 child trafficking survivors. Ali found these young people to be remarkable in their resilience and enthusiasm in turning their lives around as they utilised and adapted their hard-won performing skills to make an artistic and social impact.

Ali Williams says:  ‘We are pleased to have created a meaningful and engaging performance based on true stories from the performers’ lives. I was inspired by the young artists from Circus Kathmandu and am delighted to be able to employ Aman and Renu in a professional capacity and utilise the skills they learnt in captivity in a positive and empowering way.’

Renu and Aman are just two of over the 700 Nepalese children who have been liberated from circus slavery in traditional Indian circuses since 2004. Children got promised stardom and opportunity, but the reality for them would be a life of slavery, exploitation and abuse in circuses that became their prisons.

The show reflects Renu and Aman's triumph over a tragedy that befalls hundreds of Nepalese children each year, as they recount their tales of lost childhoods.

'As a Tiger in the Jungle is a brave, sad, and beautifully staged production that shines with an inner fire.' Circus Diaries

'As a Tiger in the Jungle is likely to have an unforgettable life-long profound effect on you.’ Theatre Reviews

You don't want to miss your opportunity to see this inspiring, authentic, raw and heartwarming performance about life and circus, entertainment and reflection when it is performed at The Riverfront on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 May. The performance on Friday 3 May will feature Audio Description and British Sign Language in order to make the show accessible for all.

Tickets are available online here, or by calling 01633 656757.

John Harrhy Jayne Bryant

Newport sponsored walk raised vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru

Over 350 people under took a sponsored walk around the city of Newport on Sunday, so far raising over £3,000 to help people living with dementia.

The 3km walk started at The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre by the Mayor of Newport, Councillor Malcolm Linton. People of all ages and abilities from Newport and beyond took part and were joined by MP Jessica Morden, Assembly Minister Jayne Bryant as well as players from Newport County AFC.

Sport Development Showcase Karl Reed lo res


 Newport Live Sport and Physical Activity Development Team showcase their impact on participation and engagement in sport in Newport.

On Thursday 22nd March, the Sport & Physical Activity Development Team from Newport Live held their first showcase event to demonstrate the high-quality sporting opportunities the team delivers and facilitates for children, families, schools, communities, sports clubs, and local groups across Newport and beyond.

IWD 36

On 8 & 9 March, The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre will be hosting two days of activities to celebrate International Women’s Day. 2019’s campaign seeks to better the balance with a more gender balanced world as well as to progress gender parity. With an inspirational female focus, the theatre will be offering activities, workshops, demonstrations, performances, discussions and guest speakers.

The 2-day event will include discussions on a number of themes including Careers and Pioneers! focussing on women in the workplace as well as Whose Birthright Is It Anyway?, an open panel discussion about how and why decisions about becoming a parent are formed. Panelists across the sessions include Deputy Chief Constable Pam Kelly, PCC Commissioner Eleri Thomas MBE; Vernesta Cyril OBE; Dr Tamse Preece; Rosaleen Moriarty Simmonds OBE; Bethan Morgan; Dr Tracy Evans and Samatha “Doula” Gadsen.

On both days at 7.45pm there will also be a performance of peeling by Kaite O’Reilly. A play exploring the relationship between women, their bodies and children against a backdrop of man- made conflict. The performance includes interwoven BSL, live audio description and English captions as well as a question and answer session after the show.

Throughout the event, attendees can also take part in free fitness classes, workshops, enjoy live music and film. This includes a screening of Women in Wales: Voice, a powerful new documentary film from Winding Snake Productions; the chance to create your own Frida Kahlo as well as Zumba and Yoga fitness tasters. With the theme of balance this year, The Riverfront will be running tightrope workshops and circus skills.

Sally Anne-Evans Community Arts Development Officer at The Riverfront said “International Women’s Day at the Riverfront is always an amazing event. This year is even bigger and better. Covering the 2 days it gives us a chance to celebrate the achievements of women, also think about how much further we need to go for a better balanced society.

We have so many fun activities, including yoga and mindfulness as well as arts activities and fantastic performances. Saturday is all about fun and creativity, a chance to create a print in the style of Frida Kahlo or help paint a banner and listen to some amazing female vocalists including Aleighcia Scott and Selena in the Chapel. I can’t wait!"

To view the full programme for International Women’s Day, visit

To book for peeling visit or call the Booking Line on 01633 656757.

Walk for Dementia final 2 page 001

Newport County AFC is teaming up with Newport Live to put on Newport's first sponsored walk for dementia, officially supported by Monmouthshire Building Society. The walk will take place on Sunday April 7th starting at 11am at The Riverfront Theatre in Newport. The gentle 3km walk is open to all ages and abilities and will raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru.

With an estimated 2,000 people living with dementia in Newport, the money raised from the walk will make a real difference to supporting families affected by the disease. Newport has already been recognised as a dementia-friendly city, which is helping to reduce the stigma associated with dementia, and make people feel confident, understood and supported as a valuable part of society and their local community. This partnership has been working hard to make the event a success for the first year, in the hope that this could become an annual event.

The walk is the brainchild of Newport County AFC Director of Equality & Diversity at Newport County AFC, Colin Faulkner. He says: “As a city working to become a dementia friendly community, it made sense to celebrate this, by having a large event in Newport to raise money and awareness. As the first football league club in Wales to become a dementia-friendly organisation it is important that we support the community where in which our supporters, owners and fans live. We hope that this will be the first of an annual event that will grow year on year for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru."

Steve Ward, Chief Executive at Newport Live, said: “Newport Live strives to inspire our city’s residents to be happier and healthier, we have worked extremely hard to ensure our staff are trained to support our customers, and achieve our Dementia Friends status. Dementia touches the lives of so many, the condition can affect any one of us, awareness and fundraising linked to partnership projects such as this will only help us come together to ensure Newport’s Walk for Dementia is a success."

Cllr Paul Cockeram, Newport City Council said: “Newport City Council are pleased to support the Alzheimer's Society Cymru, and Newport County AFC and Newport Live at the Newport Walk for Dementia around the City on April 7th.“I'm sure nearly every family in Newport will know someone or have a family member who is affected by this cruel condition. I do hope everyone can make an effort to participate in the walk which will be a first for Newport.”

Paula Langston, Regional Fundraising Manager for Wales for Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, said: “This is a fantastic partnership and is testament to the support and passion displayed by both Newport County AFC and Newport Live. We are so proud to be work with them to raise not only vital funds for people living with dementia in the local community, but also raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with this disease. This event truly is a collaborative and community-based event which will help everyone affected by dementia, their family, carers and community. Thank you and well done to all involved”.

For more information and to register for the event please visit the website at


Riverfront season launch

Brand New Season at The Riverfront

 This March, The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre launches a new season of entertainment including live music, new theatre productions from exciting Welsh companies, cinema, cabaret and more.

The season starts on St David’s Day with two iconic Welsh companies; National Dance Company Wales and Hijinx performing at The Riverfront in the heart of Newport. NDCWales bring their performance of Awakening; three unique dances to amaze and amuse, whilst Hijinx will be performing Into the Light; daring physical theatre about the right to be seen and heard.

Other highlights during the season include Dinosaur World Live, an interactive show where children get chance to come face to face with impressive prehistoric creatures and Grav, a performance exploring the life and time of one of Wales’ most loved sons ‘Ray Gravell’.

The Riverfront will also feature celebrity performances, workshops and discussions including Jason Donovan, Nick Sharratt, Patricia Routledge, Paul Merton, Ceri Dupree and dancers from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

There is also plenty of classic and contemporary music including tributes to The Eagles, Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra featuring the one and only Anita Harris.

The theatre has other upcoming events including a celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 & 9 March as well as weekly workshops like Ceramics for Adults and cinema screenings with upcoming films including Mary Poppins Returns, Stan & Ollie and Mary Queen of Scots.

Alan Dear, Head of Theatre, Arts & Culture said “It was a pleasure to join Newport Live last year and work with The Riverfront team in producing a programme that aims to bring something for everybody. We hope that audiences from not only South East Wales but further afield find something for them at the theatre this season.”

Tickets for the Spring Season are now on sale. View the full programme at

To book visit or call the Booking Line on 01633 656757.




Newport Live is committed to playing sports and physical activity accessible for everyone. Newport Tennis Centre provides a quality accessible and affordable Programme that offers a wide range of opportunities for disabled people to participate in Tennis. As part of this commitment, we offer both inclusive sessions that are open to all and impairment specific sessions that are open to both Disabled Junior and Adult players.

We currently deliver over 10 coaching sessions per week which are inclusive of Disabled people, 50% of these sessions are impairment/target group specific with the remaining 50% inclusive sessions which are open to all. In the last year as part of our Tennis Foundation Network plan, we have increased the number of disabled participants regularly engaging in our programme from 12 to 27 this has included the development of a specific adult wheelchair tennis session and a partnership with a newly opened school for those on the Autistic Spectrum. As a Centre we pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service to all participants regardless of impairment or disability, our volunteers and coaches attend regular CPD around inclusion and disability to ensure this is the case.

We engage with disabled players from a wide range of ages and backgrounds we currently have players from age 5 up to age 70 at the Centre. We ensure our environment is as inclusive of disabled people as possible, we do this through the provision of adapted equipment where needed (e.g. VI tennis balls) and provision of CPD around inclusion. This year we have hosted a Wheelchair Tennis CPD session with Tennis Wales that was attended by all our lead coaches. Additionally, our coaching sessions are regularly reviewed by our Disability Sport Wales Officer to ensure they are fully inclusive.

Over last year we have used multiple approaches to engage with disabled participants and increase participation. We have developed several partnerships with local agencies working with disabled people including the local health board Children’s Centre, a local social enterprise that provides sports activities for disabled people and local Special Schools. We have supported Disability Sport Wales have a go events and hosted the first Newport disability school's tennis festival We have also supported a sports day at the local special school which gave us a unique opportunity to engage with both disabled pupils and their parents at the same time.

Over the last year, the Tennis Centre has demonstrated an outstanding commitment towards the inclusion of disabled people. This has resulted in almost doubling participation from disabled people at the Tennis Centre. Being considered for this award would be a fantastic recognition for all the hard work put in.