Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

Photograph © Mark Phillips. Reproduced under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

The Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl, Bridgend County Borough, Wales, was opened in 1932. It is well-known for its octagonal dome and striking frontage. Originally intended as a Palm Court for hosting Tea Dances, Balls and Civic functions, the Pavilion is an extremely versatile venue.

Construction of the Grand Pavilion commenced in the summer of 1931. The use of ferrocrete throughout meant that the construction was relatively quick and was complete by August 1932. At the time, the use of ferrocrete was a relatively new technology and remarkably 75 years on, it has stood the test of time.

The Grand Pavilion hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year including live theatre, concerts, ballroom dancing, conferences, dances, and culminating in the ever-popular Christmas pantomime. Recently, names such as Rob Brydon, Eddie Izzard, Cerys Matthews, Hayley Westenra, Katherine Jenkins, Suzi Quatro, Ralph McTell, Joe Pasquale, and Gerry & The Pacemakers have all appeared on the Pavilion’s stage. In 1957 a US Government travel ban prevented Paul Robeson from appearing in person at the Miners’ Eisteddfod, however he still performed live via a secretly arranged transatlantic telephone link up. 50 years on, in 2007, the Grand Pavilion celebrated this important event with a very special concert featuring Sir Willard White.

The Grand Pavilion is also a versatile and unique conference venue, hosting many corporate and charity conferences and meetings throughout the year. It is also a popular venue for civil wedding ceremonies, receptions and parties.

The main hall features a fully equipped stage, which is host to many professional and amateur performances throughout the year. The main hall has a theatre seating capacity of 643. The hall also boasts one of the finest sprung dance floors anywhere in South Wales. The octagonal floor ensures plenty of space for dancing, and is regularly used for ballroom dancing classes, as well as sell out tea dances.

Originally named the “lesser hall” (and subsequently the “Jubilee Room”) the basement of the Pavilion houses a recently refurbished performance space now named “The Stage Door”. The Stage Door plays host to regular Comedy nights, folk and jazz nights, dance classes, theatre workshops, conferences and meetings.

Patrons to The Grand Pavilion’s sea front Cafe Bar enjoy panoramic south facing views across the Bristol Channel. On a clear day, Devon, England, is clearly visible. The Cafe Bar hosts its own series of events, such as Jazz, Chill-out sessions, Literary speaking and an Art Forum.

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