Purpose-built in 2004, the Riverfront Arts Centre is Newport’s leading theatre and arts venue, putting on a wide range of events throughout the year. The centre is equipped with two theatres, an art gallery, dance studio, recording studio, workshop room and licensed café.
The main action takes place in the 500-seat theatre that hosts everything from musicals to stand-up comedy, live bands, ballroom dancing, live orchestras, classical music, an annual pantomime and more. The art gallery shows works by local artists, as well as exhibitions spanning photography, painting and sculpture, while the basement gallery is regularly used for large-scale exhibitions.
Events are held most weekends and the calendar is generally filled a year in advance, giving you plenty of time to coincide your visit with a big event and get your tickets booked.
The multi-purpose venue also screens over 200 films each year spanning everything from indie art-house flicks to more mainstream Hollywood blockbusters. And while you’re there, make sure to head into the popular café and bar that overlook the River Usk - when the sun is shining, why not enjoy a drink on the terrace and take in the views?
During the site’s construction in 2002, while they were digging down to create the orchestra pit, they uncovered the remains of the Newport Ship, the 15th-century vessel that had been stuck in the riverbank. Dating back to 1465 and around 35 metres long, the ship’s timbers are currently being cleaned and restored, and it is hoped that it will eventually be reconstructed. Check with the Ship Centre for opportunities to view the progress.