All the World’s a Stage for Port Talbot’s Virtual Arts Café

National Lottery funds Community Arts Initiative 

The official Covid-19 delayed launch of Port Talbot’s online Arts Café took place last night at Blanco’s Hotel and Restaurant, in the town’s centre. 

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock joined David Rees MS (Aberavon), civic leaders and officers from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC), together with artists, actors, musicians and performers from the town’s arts fraternity, to celebrate the launch of the National Lottery funded project. 

From an idea first mooted during the height of lockdown, grant funding has helped build, develop and pilot a one stop, intergenerational, digital hub that uses Music, Arts, Crafts and Performance as the catalyst for the creation of a community voice that celebrates local artists and their work. 

The innovative project looks to equip local residents of all ages from Port Talbot and the larger Swansea Bay City Area, with the opportunity, the means, support, platform and digital training to create a virtual venue for those in the artistic community to exhibit and perform to a much larger audience. 

The original brainchild of a local Community Interest Company, the project drew on support from Actor Kyle Rees (Pride, Outlander, The Passion) and the drive and technical know-how of local learning technology company Aspire 2Be. 

Spokesman for Aspire 2Be,Managing Director Simon Pridham said, ‘As a company we wanted a way of supporting the community in Port Talbot and the surrounding area during lockdown. After helping to poll opinion, we knew what was needed was a safe, social, creative, virtual community space for people to express themselves. Using our own resources and the help and support of community spirited people like well known actor Kyle Rees, we set about helping the Community Interest Company to make the idea into a reality.’ 

Rees brings a wealth of experience to the project from film, television, stage and acclaimed street theatre performance; he was part of the central cast in Michael Sheen’s The Passion of Port Talbot. His acting Masterclass initiative, provides the project with long term sustainability and the potential of massive audience reach. 

Famous actors Matthew Rhys, Tim Downie, Sam Heughan and West End performers like Sophie Evans have, through Rees’ promptings and with him as the protagonist, already given their support to a series of Masterclasses, in which their expertise and know how will help aspiring actors and performers to learn the tricks of their trade. Other well known names and celebrities are about to be announced shortly.

Welcoming guests to the event, Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said, ‘The town’s Plaza Project will, when completed, provide Port Talbot and the surrounding area with a first class Arts venue. By contrast, PTArtsCafé will complement the physical space that the Plaza will offer by providing artists and performers with a virtual space and access to a worldwide audience. I am delighted to be welcoming people to the official launch of this venture, which seeks to bring coordination across a range of individuals and diverse local organisations within my constituency and well beyond its boundaries. PTArtsCafé is looking to build a community of interest that uses the Arts, Music and Performance to generate a collective voice that is original, participatory, self determined and responsive to need’

The event featured entertainment with excellent performances from singer/songwriter duo The Jackson Flynn Thing, Choreographer Harrison Campbell’s ‘Yah Majesty’ Dance Crew and pupils from Ysgol Bae Baglan Drama Group. 

Concluding the event, Aspire 2Be Managing Director Pridham, announced the support and sponsorship of multinational construction group Bouygues UK (Wales) for the project. ‘Bouygues UK has a great reputation in Wales and is very well known for its work in Port Talbot, in particular at Ysgol Bae Baglan. Through its involvement in this project, it will look to cement its status in this community and push itself forward as the contractor of choice for customers in Wales’, he said. 

For More Information on:- 

  • Aspire 2Be please visit – https://aspire2be.co.uk/contact/ or contact Simon Pridham on 07876 571512 
  • The PTArtsCafé please visit – PTArtsCafe contact@ptartscafe.co.uk or contact Chris on 07791 525317 
  • Kyle Rees (Actor) please click here and here
  • Stephen Kinnock MP Is the Member of Parliament for the Aberavon Constituency and Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces. You can find more about him by visiting his website, contact him at stephen.kinnock.mp@parliament.uk by phone on (01639) 897660 or 0207 219 8801 or write to him at stephen.kinnock.mp@parliament.uk. You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook orTwitter
  • Bouygues UK (Wales) – Wales Office at 1st Floor Brook House, Limetree Ct. Mulberry Drive, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8AB contact and 029 20 546260 
  • A2B Active Sport CIC – is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. For further information please visit https://a2bactive.co.uk/
  • Up to date details on Port Talbot’s Plaza Project can be found here

 

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