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New plans revealed to 'secure the future' of Caerdydd's Old Library

The Old Library, Caerdydd (Image: Llywelyn2000) (CC BY-SA 4.0)

An update on Caerdydd Council's progress in securing the future of the Old Library has been revealed.

A report, which was presented to the local authority's Cabinet on Thursday 18 November, seeks authority to transfer use of the building via long lease— that will also cover the full running and maintenance costs— to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.

The Cabinet is asked to consider the College's plans which include introducing a series of music and performance spaces in the existing rooms and further developing existing work at the Old Library in respect of the Welsh language.

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama full plans include:

  • sustain and deepen existing aims in the Old Library to promote and protect the Welsh language.

  • return the Old Library to its original educational function for the College's students and participants.

  • restore the listed building to showcase its original features, retaining the original building layout.

  • introduce a series of performance, exhibition and rehearsal spaces into the existing rooms.

  • provide public access to a "city living room" on the ground floor, with café/creative workspace.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said: "These are really exciting new plans for the future of the Old Library, whilst still remaining sympathetic to the history and tradition of the building.

"This will be a huge boost for performing arts and perfectly complements the existing Museum of Cardiff - which is such an integral part of the building, bringing together the history of the city- and the neighbouring St David's Hall, which will create a hub for creativity and culture right in the city centre.

"There is a lot of work being done to develop Cardiff's Music Strategy which includes protecting the city's music scene.These new proposals will help create a key cultural quarter with the Castle, the college campus at Bute Park and the museum, with their unique position within Cardiff's music scene".

Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Professor Helena Gaunt, said, "This architectural gem has education and community built into its foundations. Taking that history into the future, we aim to bring the space to life with music, drama and a range of live performance as a magnet for local people. It feels like a perfect fit for Cardiff as a ‘City of Music'.

"Anyone who passes our current campus in Bute Park will appreciate the magic of hearing inspiring music spilling out through open windows - that magic will now become a feature of the city centre."

"We want to draw people in, as a space for everyone to enjoy. We will throw open our doors to offer immersive experiences, inviting people to explore and create with us. We want to spark curiosity and nurture the most diverse range of talents, combining innovation with Wales' cultural heritage.

"This collaboration with Cardiff Council is an exciting promise to the city's people, and we are looking forward to transforming it to reality."

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