In the second of her ‘farewell posts’, Cardiff culture blogger Katie Brown talks about her favourite venues in the city.
“Over my time in Cardiff, I’ve grown incredibly attached to its theatres and cultural centres. They are what I picture first when I imagine the city and what I’ll miss most. We are incredibly lucky here in Cardiff to have so many great venues, offering a wide variety of entertainment, but here are some of my favourites.
One of my first activities in Cardiff was watching the Welsh National Opera’s Don Giovanni at the Wales Millennium Centre. The production was breathtaking, but I was even more impressed by the building. The use of Welsh materials, combining the traditional and the modern is just stunning. For big budget, West End quality performances, the Centre is unbeatable, but that’s not all it offers. Free performances of all kinds take place most days on the Glanfa Stage in the Centre, which is great for a student budget!
Sticking with impressive buildings, if I went on Grand Designs, I’d ask for my house to look like the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber has expressed his fondness of it. It’s a really calming place to just sit, meet friends and enjoy some delicious cake, but of course its main attraction are the students inside. As clichéd as it sounds, I always say that watching the College’s Richard Burton Company feels like seeing the stars of the future. So many RWCMD students go on to successful acting careers, so by going to their student performances you can get a sneak peek. Just hanging around the building often pays off too, as I’ve caught several free performances that way.
Since its reopening in February, Sherman Cymru has consistently delivered high-quality productions. Every week, there has been something new I’ve wanted to see. I love their commitment to diversity, going from a 19th century play one week to French street dance the next, and often welcoming genre-busting, multi-media productions. Their support of new writing – particularly new Welsh talent – and innovative in-house productions makes Sherman Cymru one of the most exciting local theatres. Sometimes challenging, always thought-provoking, the choice of productions at Sherman Cymru is second-to-none.
When I first moved here, I heard about how great Chapter was, but, like most students it seems, thought that Canton was just too far away, especially without a direct bus. I was so wrong and missed out for far too long on what became a second home for me in Cardiff. The half hour or so walk from University through Bute Park is always pleasant, particularly when the sun’s out, and the rewards once you get there are worth it. What I love most about Chapter is that it has just about everything under one roof: a theatre, an art gallery, a cinema screening both mainstream and independent/world films, a bar/restaurant, even a bookshelf. It’s a place to meet people, relax and be entertained, but also a place to be challenged, to discover, and to explore new ideas.”