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A PRIVATE company will take over the operation of the New Theatre in Cardiff this July, depending on coronavirus.

HQ Theatres will start running the theatre, at the south end of Park Place, depending on the situation with the pandemic.

The company was due to take over from Cardiff council in March last year, but this was delayed because of Covid-19.

The theatre is more than a century old and the council has been trying to find a private company to take it over since at least 2014, due to the high cost of running the building and expensive backlog of maintenance work.

HQ Theatres also runs theatres in illustrious locations such as Southend-on-Sea, Guildford, Bromley, Swindon and Crewe.

The New Theatre has a capacity of 1,144 and regularly puts on musicals, plays, and a yearly Christmas pantomime.

A spokesperson for Cardiff council said: “The original transfer date of March 2020 was delayed because of Covid.

“We have remained in constant dialogue with HQ Theatres and are currently working towards a July transfer date subject to the ongoing public health position.”

The theatre first opened in 1906, with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night the first show to perform on its stage.

The building faced a threat of redevelopment in 1961 when the council received a planning application to knock down the theatre and build offices in its place. The application was refused.

HQ said they will “invest significantly to protect the building for the future”.

Shows on the New Theatre’s website are listed to begin again in September, the first time since the pandemic forced shows to stop in spring last year.

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