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Entertainment & Nightlife in Wales


There's no Soho in Cardiff, but you can find many interesting places to go after dark.

St. David's Hall is one of Britain's leading centers of music, offering an extensive program, including visits by international conductors, soloists, and orchestras. Top rock and pop artists also appear there. The most outstanding local troupe is the Welsh National Opera, which Punch magazine acclaimed as "the world's best opera company."

For information abut After Dark diversions, pick up a brochure from the Cardiff tourist office, revised annually. In it you'll see a selective rundown of the city's most worthwhile entertainment.

Performing Arts

The most innovative space for musical presentations in Britain – outside London, that is – is St. David's Hall (or Neuadd Dewi Sant in Welsh), The Hayes. Designed in an octagonal format of shimmering glass and roughly textured concrete, it is the most comprehensive forum for the arts in Wales. A number of world-class orchestras appear regularly, along with popular music stars – everybody from Tina Turner to Welsh-born Tom Jones. Dance, films, and classical ballet, among other events, are also presented.

The hall maintains an information desk for the sale of tickets throughout the day. It also has dining facilities, plus a changing exhibition of art. Prince Charles laid the hall's cornerstone, and the Queen Mother officially opened the arts centre in 1983. The top-notch acoustics are attributed to its interior arrangements of a series of interlinked sloping terraces, any of which can be opened or closed for seating depending on the size of the audience.

Instant confirmed bookings for events can be made by phone with a Visa or MasterCard daily from 10am to 6 or 8pm, depending on the concert schedule. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm (but only until 6pm on days when there's no performance). On Sunday, hours are from 10am to either 6pm or until 1 hour before the start of a scheduled performance. Ticket prices depend on the event.

A charming Edwardian building from 1906, the New Theatre, Park Place, is the city's second cultural venue, seating 1,000 patrons for major productions of drama, ballet, contemporary dance, and pantomime. As of this writing, it is also the home of the Welsh National Opera, although this troupe may one day move to a newer building. Many theatergoers often enjoy shows here before they head for London's West End. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm. If there's no performance scheduled, the ticket office closes at 6pm. Most tickets generally cost from £7 to £24.

Cardiff's main repertory theatre, Sherman Theatre, Senghennydd Road, is on the campus of the University of Wales. It has two auditoriums – the Main Theatre and the more intimate Arena Theatre. More than 600 performances a year are staged here, including drama, dance, and Welsh folkloric performances. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm (until 6pm if no performance is scheduled). The cost for most tickets is £9 for adults or £6 for students and children.

Finally, Chapter, Market Road, in Canton, is an arts centre complete with a theatre; two movie facilities; three galleries and artists' studios; video, photography, and silk-screen workshops; a dance studio; a book shop; two bars; and a restaurant. Its box office is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 8:30pm, Saturday from 2 to 8:30pm, and Sunday from 3 to 8:30pm.

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