HQ Theatres and Hospitality has won a bid to become the operator of Cardiff’s New Theatre from 2020.
Current operator Cardiff Council ran a bidding process to find a new manager for the 1,144 capacity Edwardian theatre. The move was part of money-saving drive, as the local authority currently pays £500,000 a year towards the operation of the venue.
The lease agreement with HQ runs for 25 years, during which time the operator plans to “invest significantly” to improve front-of-house areas and enhance the theatre.
Existing staff at the New Theatre will be retained and transferred to HQ’s employment.
The New Theatre will be the 13th venue to be run by HQ, which is a subsidiary of Qdos Entertainment Group. Qdos has run pantomime productions at the theatre for more than two decades.
Nick Thomas, chairman and founder of Qdos Entertainment Group said: “After 20 years of producing Wales’ biggest pantomime at the New Theatre we’ve come to know the venue and Cardiff audiences well. That’s one of the reasons why it’s such a thrilling prospect for us to run the theatre.
“We’re delighted to welcome the team at the New Theatre into the HQ and Qdos family – where they’ll benefit from being part of a supportive network of colleagues running our highly successful theatres – and from the sharing of industry best practice, which has become a hallmark of what we do.”
Cardiff Council cabinet member for culture and leisure Peter Bradbury described the New Theatre as “one of Cardiff’s most important cultural assets”.
He added: “I’m delighted that its future has been secured through this agreement with HQ Theatres and Hospitality, one of the UK’s leading theatre operators.
“This arrangement will see the theatre operated without subsidy – generating money that can be reinvested in the structure of the building and ensuring the theatre’s doors stay open for many years to come.”