By Jenny White.
You’ve probably noticed that changes are afoot on Swansea’s High Street. Arts events, a pop-up theatre and the arrival of the swanky new Mosaic café bar and bistro are making the formerly bedraggled street a desirable place to be. Then there’s the extensive building work – all part of a cool £25 million being spent by Coastal Housing to turn the High Street area into a vibrant new Urban Village.
As part of this project, Swansea Creative Hub is acting as a magnet to bring creative individuals, businesses and organisations into the area.
“The Hub currently has half a dozen partners ranging from the temporary use of formally empty buildings by the likes of Volcano theatre, Swansea Music, Art and Dance and Supersaurus art collective through to the high end new Mosaic cafe bistro,” says Huw Williams, Swansea Creative Hub’s project director. “The hub was also responsible for Wales’ first ever pop up theatre which hosted two very successful runs of Mal Pope’s Cappuccino Girls musical.”
Other achievements include the arrival of Elysium artists’ studios and gallery in the basement of the former Baron’s nightclub, and a partnership between Swansea Creative Hub and Locws International for their ‘Art across the city ‘ and forthcoming ‘Art across the High Street’ projects. And there’s more to come
“The most exciting recent development besides Mosaic is the forthcoming vintage homeware and accessories store which will open on High Street in new year, plus the soon to be opened co – working short term and affordable office space for creatives in association with Indycube,” says Huw.
What’s it all in aid of? The Hub is about more than prettying up High Street, as Huw explains:
“The aim of the Hub is ultimately to establish a creative cluster housing the first ever office block in Wales created specifically for commercial creative businesses, allowing the creative supply chain to be situated in one place with a dedicated commercial and supportive environment. This will be constructed and completed within the next two years.”
It’s an ambitious plan, but not without precedent, as creative clusters have taken root in some of the UK’s most vibrant cities including Bristol, Brighton and Birmingham. Let’s hope Swansea is next on the list.
Your at-a-glance guide to Swansea Creative Hub’s partners
- Volcano Theatre – produces original theatre productions and site-specific events
- Swansea Music, Art and Dance – provide rehearsal space and a recording studio, for professional sound and video production
- Supersaurus – a new artist group that balances individual practice with a parallel focus on collaborative work ranging from participatory events to podcasts
- The Forge artists – two installation artists, Jonathan Green and Jonathan Anderson are based in studios in the Old Forge, off High Street.
- Elysium gallery – an artist led organisation that promotes the work of emerging artists and has recently taken up residence in the basement of Baron’s.
- Indycube – a non-profit company offering workspace to everyone from early stage startups to established freelancing agents
- Mosaic Café Bar – a stylish new venue for everything from tea and cake to a hearty meal.