Venue Cymru, The Promenade, Llandudno
Although Venue Cymru is a modern building, there is a long history of entertainment at this location. On the left of the site, now occupied by Venue Cymru’s Arena, stood a theatre opened in 1894 as the Victoria Palace. It had been intended that a pier built would be built nearby as well.
It began life as a concert hall, with 1,150 seats, for Jules Riviere and his orchestra of 42 musicians, freshly arrived from the Pier Pavilion after falling out with the Llandudno Pier Company. In 1894 Sir Charles and Lady Hallé gave a piano and violin recital here with his orchestra.
In 1900 the building was re-named the Llandudno Opera House and was the host to the famous Carl Rosa opera company. Later it became the Hippodrome (pictured right) and was used as a roller-skating rink and dance hall, as well as for summer shows. In 1915 it became the Catlin’s Arcadia, home to Will Catlin’s Pierrots. You can read more about Will Catlin on our page about his grave in Llandrillo-yn-Rhos churchyard.
The Catlin’s Showtime continued until 1968. Then Llandudno Urban District Council bought the theatre and ran it. Ken Dodd was a regular performer there.
The curtain finally fell in June 1994, a few days before the new North Wales Theatre opened next door. The demand for business and political conferences, as well as entertainment, soon outgrew the North Wales Theatre and Conference Centre, which was expanded by Conwy County Borough Council at a cost of £11,745,370. In 2006 the name Venue Cymru was chosen, from 292 suggestions, for the newly enlarged facilities. Today Venue Cymru maintains the long tradition of live performance in Llandudno.
With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
Postcode: LL30 1BB