Newtown’s Hafren Theatre could soon be reopening after more than a year, as performance venues across Wales wait with bated breath for May 17 - the likely date the Welsh Government will announce further lockdown easing.

A spokesperson for The Hafrensaid: “As soon as Welsh Government regulations allow, and it is financially viable, we want to be ready to welcome customers back in to enjoy a very delayed programme of events.

“Hafren is eager to welcome back customers and clients and is making every effort to make sure that the environment is safe, going above and beyond in many areas to ensure customer confidence.”

During lockdown the venue has taken the opportunity to carry out extensive refurbishment work to freshen up the 556-seater venue in time to welcome back theatregoers.

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Local tradespeople have been busy fixing the storm-damaged fly tower, installing new auditorium lights, backstage shower cubicles, dressing room windows.

The Hafren Conference Suite has not been missed out either with new tables, chairs, flooring and refreshment machines ready for business meetings.

The theatre has paid tribute to local contractors Ian Jones Electrical, AL Technical, EOM, Vyrnwy Scaffold and Williams Plant hire for carrying out the work.

“This gives our local businesses a boost,” the spokesperson added. “Those who have come in from further afield have provided a welcome income to the local B&B and hotels as they could not accept tourists.”

But there’s still more work to be completed such as upgrading the theatre’s heating and air circulation systems which is expected to take place over the summer ready for this autumn.

The renovation to the storm-damaged fly tower, clearly visible from Newtown Bypass, is expected to finish in early June and has been managed by Cardiff-based contractor A & N Lewis Ltd. The work has involved removing and replacing all the cladding, re-covering the roof, installing new electronically operated smoke vents and erecting new signs and lightning conductors.

“As the project has involved working at height the progress has been a little slower due to the safety difficulties that has posed,” the spokesperson added.

The Hafren Theatre (part of NPTC Group of Colleges) became a drive-thgrough Coronavirus testing centre in May 2020