CWMBRAN’s Congress Theatre has almost reached its £100,000 target for its first major refurbishment, but a final push on public donations is needed.

At the launch of the appeal in August, the theatre’s manager, Martyn Redwood, explained that £100,000 was required to refurbish the building, which was built in 1972.

The project will revamp the auditorium, foyer, toilets and lounge.

Now, with successful bids of £50,000 from The Arts Council of Wales, £50,000 from the Community Economic Development Programme and £10,000 from The Cwmbran Trust, the dream is a step closer.

Mr Redwood said: “It’s great news as it was an ambitious fundraising target but now we hope to see the refurbishment take place later this year.”

In order for the theatre to be given the grants, £11,000 must be raised independently. With current funds standing at £4,500, this leaves the theatre short by £6,500.

Mr Redwood said: “The refurbishment is in reach so we will now give a final push for donations and hope that the community will support us.”

The venue’s regular stage groups include the Cwmbran Woodland Players and the Congress Youth Theatre, as well as numerous dance schools.

Currently starring in Aladdin at the theatre is Owen Money. He said: It’s a lovely venue that is supported by the community and a team of volunteers. It’s looking a little dated so a refurbishment would brighten it up so I hope people support the campaign.”

After hearing the news, Max Boyce, said: “It’s great news. I have been performing there for at least 30 years. It’s a lovely intimate theatre for performers and I hope that the community will donate.”

Plans are in place for bucket collections before performances as well as raffle sales.

Mr Redwood added: “We are indebted to our three sponsors, also to all the individuals that donated, please continue till we reach our balance.”

The most expensive part of the refurbishment will be new seating for auditorium that will cost £67,600.

The foyer refurbishment will cost £7,800, new toilets will cost £12,800, while to spruce up the lounge and bar will cost £16,800.

The theatre has running costs of £160,000 per year and the refurbishment is on top of this.

But Mr Redwood explained that Torfaen council support the venue by providing £65,000 a year, but with a cut of 20 per cent looming this financial year, the volunteers will to work harder than ever to fundraise.

For information, contact the theatre on 01633 868239.