There's always a feasibility study on-going and certainly there have been gradual developments, such as the much-improved theatre space at Merthyr College. However, despite our brandnew cinema complex, the arts remain low on the list of priorities, however much our valiant Arts Officer tries to push it to the fore.
The old Town Hall is one of the many historic buildings collapsing into dereliction which would make a suitable location for such a centre ; at best, along the lines of Chapter in Cardiff. While there seems little movement in this respect, the actual arts in Merthyr continue to flourish. As well as first class painters like Gus Payne, we have a number of promising singer-songwriters and bands like the Epaulettes and Oratorios, waiting to break through.
Two of our local poets, Roy Morgans and Dave Jones were featured in the recent anthology 'The Sounding Bowl' and both are regulars at our Open Mic. sessions at The Imp, where a different guest is featured every month.
An arts centre would provide a real focus to the various groups and bring together people working in different media. The town suffers from some of the worst poverty and sickness rates in the country and a centre would also be a focal point for workshops involving the disabled and unemployed, in the way that Bethesda Arts Centre ( run entirely by volunteers) did in the 80's.
Merthyr Tudful has always been an inspirational place, especially in terms of literature. 'Poetry Wales' magazine was founded here in the 60's by Meic Stephens, as was 'Red Poets' ( well, jointly, with Wrecsam) in the 90's.
An arts centre named after Glyn Jones or Leslie Norris would be apt indeed. We have spent a good deal in the past honouring our boxers, now the time has come to honour the town's great writers for once. All the better, if we save a crumbling building steeped in history in the process.
DIEGO MARADONA COME T MERTHYR
The day Maradona come t Merthyr
with is air gone all grey
an really short ; is beer gut
woz even bigger.
The day Diego stands in-a Igh Street
goin on bout-a play-offs
an ow Cardiff blew it,
soundin jest like ev'ryone else.
The day ee lifts is And o God
an points down-a arcade
t where a new shop ave opened,
doubts ee've got any gold.
Slike some buildin society
on'y with a name of a butcher;
in is blue n white stripes,
carn bleeve it's a pawnbroker!
With is face pale as lard,
with is worn out trainers,
numero 10 couldn elp wonderin
if is shirt ud bring any money in.