February Theatre of the Month > The Riverfront Theatre
1 February 2016
It’s been over eleven years since The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, situated in Newport, South Wales, first opened its doors and established itself as an exciting new venue on the city’s cultural scene. Building on these solid foundations, it has gone from strength to strength ever since.
As the name suggests, The Riverfront sits snugly next to the river Usk, which runs through the heart of the city of Newport. Boasting an art gallery space and 128-seater studio theatre as well as a 493-seater main auditorium, it is in a prime position to offer a diverse selection of engaging arts events to cater to a range of tastes and budgets. Indeed, as a modern and accessible arts venue, The Riverfront is a champion of variety: since its 2004 debut, the theatre has hosted contemporary dance festivals, critically acclaimed comedians, innovative drama, a plethora of live music acts, regular screenings of the most recent films and, of course, its ever-popular annual pantomime.
Last year heralded the start of an exciting new chapter for The Riverfront as it gained a new Artistic Director, and also formed a major part of Newport Live, an organisation dedicated to nurturing culture, sport and leisure within the city. As a result, it was with huge enthusiasm that we strode into 2016, and it’s already got off to a flying start.
Riding high on the success of our pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, as it drew to a close in early January, we started the new year with a bang when the internationally-renowned Eddie Izzard and his trademark quick wit exploded onto our stage for one night only.
Now, February sees us really getting into the swing of our spring programme. In particular, our forthcoming co-productions are set to be a real calendar highlight. First, we will be working with the award-winning creative talent of Gwyn Emberton Dance for the company’s newest production, Shadow of a Quiet Society. Following the intricate stories of a collection of people from a small unnamed town, this captivating performance expresses timeless themes of love, war and identity through the movement of contemporary dance.
Another highly-anticipated event for February is our co-production with the passionate and supremely gifted Theatr Pena. After numerous highly successful joint projects in the past, this season will see their imaginative adaptation of the legendary Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie entertain The Riverfront’s audiences for a three-night run. With each new production always rehearsed entirely in our studio theatre, our close working relationship with Theatr Pena always results in a special and unique set of performances.
Then, towards the end of February, we will be hosting an out-of-this-world dance double bill in the form of Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid & The Wonders of the Universe. Taking audiences on a journey from the bottom of the sea to the far reaches of space, street dance sensations Tentacle Tribe and Wales’s Karol Cysewski combine their creative talents for a feast of fun and enlightening entertainment.
As well as providing a range of theatrical performances, The Riverfront is also committed to encouraging community engagement and developing low-cost, family-friendly events. This month is a prime example of this, as space-themed arty activities land in the theatre on Monday 15 February ready to accompany our Half Term screenings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
So far, our 2016 is shaping up to be as full of artistic variety as ever. With more great cultural experiences to follow in the coming months, from an evening with wildlife presenter Gordon Buchanan to Swansea City Opera’s production of La Bohème, The Riverfront continues to nestle firmly at the heart of the arts in Newport.