Wherefore art thou Room-eo? - Free rehearsal space in Cardiff

Open letter to Cardiff artists. 
Gutted to discover, yesterday, that The Gower pub in Gwennyth Street is to be sold, and is no longer taking booking for it's FREE TO HIRE rehearsal space in the room above. 
A very sad day for me, having rehearsed there with The Howardians, Inky Quill Productions, The Ghost Room, Shudders Theatre and most recently George Infini Productions over the last 7 years. 
It was a haven, an oasis, a room of liberty (provided you didn't make too many screaming noises), and it cost nothing but the price of the obligatory drinks for the cast. Of-course, the reason it is being sold is because the income was too low. This leads me to mixed feelings: guilt for having never paid to use the room (although no charge was ever requested) and also the hard fact: if they had charged, I never would have afforded to rehearse there with any of these zero-budget theatre companies. At least buying drinks was the little we could give. 
So, it brings me to the question: Where in Cardiff can a zero-budget theatre company go to rehearse?  - every one of us a serious and dedicated artist, who is making their art against all odds, with no pay for it, but a compulsion too strong to throw by the wayside. 
Could it be that our theatres can find a way to offer one space, at no charge, openly and publicly and measure time so it is spread fairly across all comers: a utopian ideal? (If you do, and I'm unaware, and your read this, please holler back).
Could they perhaps agree, by way of long term investment, to allow the use of charge-free space based on a percentage of future income. Surely there is a decent sized cupboard in every one of these vast buildings. Clear out the stationary, let the artist reside on the broadest shelf, for a two hour slot and maybe one day he'll be bringing in the crowds for you. 
I would love to hear from everyone who feels these issues are relevant to them, where in Cardiff can we rehearse for free? (particularly if none of your team live there). 
PS. I need a space for Monday. 
Jon 

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Comment by James Robert Auheb on January 5, 2015 at 10:05
Thanks Kelly! I'll have a look!
Comment by Kelly Jones on January 5, 2015 at 9:55

Hey james , Have you tried buffalo? They sometimes let people use the space upstairs during the day. Also the Woodville pub in Cathays allow use of the basement room

Kelly

Comment by James Robert Auheb on January 5, 2015 at 6:03
Hi folks,
I know the blog has been rather quiet.. But I am in need of help! I'm directing Frank McGuinness' 'Someone Who'll Watch Over Me' in April and our rehearsal venue is now unavailable... I've tried a few of the suggestions on the board, but wonder if anyone has any other contacts they could suggest?
Thanks!
Comment by Steve Bennett on May 19, 2014 at 21:01

That's amazing, thank you for this Jon! Hope you're well!

Comment by Jonathan Holcroft on May 19, 2014 at 14:36

Thanks James, glad it's helping. And a big thanks to Kelly and Alan for your rehearsal space info too. I've just come away from a wonderfully enlightening meeting at the Wales Millenium Centre with Fern George. Fern is making use of available free space in the centre by filling it with those who make a request. This is available as "in kind" support, and all you need to do is e-mail Fern to place a request: fern.george@wmc.org.uk. Fern is taking a progressive and uplifting approach to supporting smaller theatre companies in ways which are logical and affordable: allowing the use of empty rooms whenever the opportunity is there. 

Comment by James Robert Auheb on May 19, 2014 at 13:53

This is really useful! Thanks Jon for writing such a useful and informative piece and for this comments board!

Comment by Alan Humphreys on May 19, 2014 at 12:03

O'Neils let you use their room for a deposit too

Comment by Kelly Jones on May 16, 2014 at 10:02

The roath park pub let you use the space for free as do The cons club next door to Milgi. If they are booked though the Victoria Park Pub in Canton charge £10 for all day rehearsal

Comment by Jonathan Holcroft on May 16, 2014 at 9:40

Very pleased to find that a space was available at Wales Millenium Centre. Thank you to Louise Miles-Crust and Fern George for arranging this for us. I'm impressed to see such a large venue being generous in this way. This blog is still open for other suggestion, and I hope everyone who reads will have a think about places they know of and share them. It's a thing we all need at some point in time. Had an idea last night - inspired by Spotify. Rehearsal space given for free to those who need it, but with every wall plastered with major theatre company advertising. Great way to reach target audiences and pay for the space at the same time. The rich get richer, the poor get free stuff - Robin Hood Rehearsal Rooms anyone? 

Comment by James Robert Auheb on May 15, 2014 at 17:50
Hi Jon,
It's a really difficult situation we're in with no rehearsal space... As developing artists we have no way to develop our art! Maybe we could organise a chance to get together to have a chat?

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