A section of the Swansea Grand Theatre is to be redeveloped to become a cultural hub and teaching space aimed at promoting diversity, billed as the first of its kind in Wales.
Race Council Cymru, Wales’ non-profit anti-discrimination body, is heading up the initiative, funded by the Welsh government.
The theatre’s Arts Wing will provide a location for community activities and events. The venue is expected to roll out an arts programme from next year.
Race Council Cymru has led the hub project in consultation with community groups including the African Community Centre, the Chinese in Wales Association and the Swansea Women’s Asylum and Refugee Support Group.
Race Council Cymru chair Ray Singh said: “The hub will offer a city-centre space for ethnic minority community day-to-day needs and long-term provision of space, to support the communities to develop a new and diverse programme of arts and cultural activities and the opportunity to share in the culture of others.
“Our research shows that – although Swansea is a welcoming and tolerant city – members of these communities have reported feeling marginalised, isolated, invisible and undervalued here.
“There’s a need for a welcoming environment, where they can work with each other, with local residents, with the council and others – and the hub will provide that.”
In addition to a street food cafe and catering support service, a community office installation will offer digital assistance and teaching.
The development is expected to raise more than £150,000 in new annual income for the theatre.
Robert Francis-Davies, Welsh cabinet member for regeneration and tourism, said the project would “support understanding between grassroots communities and those who provide services”.
“The hub will be a Welsh first and it’s right that, with an evolving society and changing cultural needs, the Grand – at more than 120 years old – is at the forefront of change.
Structural changes to the wing will begin later this month, with the main auditorium continuing to stage performances.