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Hollywood comes to Port Talbot — in the form of some new artwork at the Plaza Cinema

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

The paintings on the old Plaza Cinema building.

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HOLLYWOOD has come to Port Talbot and spruced up a rundown landmark.

Three of the town's greatest actors – Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen — have been portrayed in paint on the outside of the derelict Plaza Cinema.

Sean Pursey, who is a member of the Plaza steering group, said the aim of the paintings was to help make the cinema look a bit more attractive.

"The artist, Lloyd Roberts, is doing a great job," he said.

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"I was speaking to him last week and he was hoping to get it all finished by the end of the week. It looks great and everybody is looking at it."

Mr Pursey said it was the steering group, in a meeting with the council, which had asked for something to be done to the front of the building.

"We mentioned we wanted it tidied up," he said. "Someone mentioned Lloyd and he was commissioned to do the work."

Year six pupils from Central Junior School also took part in painting the artwork.

Head teacher Rob Purchase said the children really enjoyed getting involved.

"All 58 children took part," he said. "We were invited to take part by councillor Anthony Taylor and we jumped at the chance.

"From an educational point of view it was the opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their artistic talents. It also helped the children to appreciate a listed building which has become an eyesore."

In its heyday on August 11 in 1989, 5,000 people walked through the Plaza doors. But the cinema shut in 1999, and the sale of the building was finally settled in August 2002.

Over the years, the building has fallen into disrepair. In 2011, Neath Port Talbot Council confirmed that it had bought the building and council bosses said they wished to see the cinema return to productive use.

Last June the council revealed it would develop a feasibility study and business plan for the restoration of the building.

The restoration cost is predicted to be in the £5 million range.

Last month the authority announced that it had secured £9.64 million from the Welsh Government's Vibrant and Viable Places grant scheme, which aims to regenerate towns across the country.

The three-year proposed programme includes redeveloping the Glan Afan School site, creating homes above shops on the lower end of Station Road and on the police station site, along with the redevelopment of Green Park.

The Plaza project also forms part of the council's plans.

Port Talbot

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