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About us

Blackwood Miners’ Institute is a multipurpose, professional performing arts centre and an iconic, historical landmark situated in the heart of the South East Valleys. Today it is one of the busiest and most vibrant theatres in South Wales.

 

Meet the Team

Blackwood Miners’ Institute is managed as a service by Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC) and currently sits with the Regeneration & Planning Service within the Communities Directorate.

On a day-to-day basis it is managed by a small team of dedicated arts professionals.

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Arts Development Team and the Arts & Education Network: South East Wales are also based at the venue.

Theatre and Arts Services Manager
Eloise Tong

Business & Operations Manager
Carys Wehden

Technical Manager
Robin Bainbridge

Assistant Technical Manager
Gavin Thomas

Technician
Liam Marshman

Administration and Finance Officer
Carol Small

Box Office Receptionists
Alyson Jones
Laura-Jane Harris

Duty Managers
Shiralee Tucker
Denise Bridge
Alex John
Bob Mettyer

Marketing Officer
Craig Clark

Tourism and Destinations Marketing Assistant
Sam Hill

Senior Arts Development Officer
David Chamberlain

Arts Development Officer
Bethan Ryland
Jordan Forse

Governance

Blackwood Miners’ Institute is a charitable trust (registered charity 1000905), with Caerphilly County Borough Council as the sole corporate trustee. The Cabinet act as trustees for the charity.

More details on CCBC’s Cabinet can be found here.


Our History

Historical photo of Blackwood Miners' Institute

Blackwood Miners’ Institute has undergone several transformations to become the thriving arts and entertainment venue that it is today.

Built in 1925 as a single-story snooker hall, Blackwood Miners’ Welfare Institute and Library was originally owned by the Coal Industry and the Social Welfare Organisation and was paid for out of the Oakdale Miners’ wages at 3d a week.

In 1936, two further floors were added to the building to include the stage, auditorium, dance floor, reading room, library, ladies room and rehearsal rooms for local societies.

Original events staged in the building included tea dances, snooker/billiards, reading groups, rehearsals and union meetings for local miners.

After falling into disrepair in the 1970’s-1980’s and following many of the local pit closures, the building was conveyed Islwyn Council as a charitable trust in 1990.

It was refurbished and reopened in February 1992 as a community arts and entertainment venue thanks to funding from Islwyn Borough Council and the Welsh Office. The opening series of concerts saw local schoolchildren perform on the same stage as Ken Dodd, Jasper Carrott and Welsh National Opera.

Blackwood Miners’ Institute is a charitable trust which is managed as part of the Theatre and Arts Service of Caerphilly County Borough Council.

In 2010, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet invested £1.6m in a complete refurbishment. Carried out over four years, the work was funded from the local authority’s Asset Management Fund.

Blackwood Miners’ Institute receives funding support from Caerphilly County Borough Council. In 2015, Blackwood Miners’ Institute was awarded Arts Portfolio status by the Arts Council of Wales.

Blackwood Miners’ Institute is a Grade 11* listed building and has charitable status.

Registered Charity: 1000905