The Wyeside Arts Centre at Builth Wells

We love going to the cinema. When we moved to Mid-Wales to run a busy B&B in the middle of the town we thought our film days would be over; not true. Four minutes walk away from The Owls B&B, situated on the banks of the River Wye, is the Wyeside Arts Centre, a lovely cinema with two theatres and we have so far visited twice. Not only is it close it also offers a modern state of the art cinema experience, which includes both current and back catalogue films, live theatre screenings and live acts as well as an art gallery and educational courses. If you come to Builth you have to go there.

For anyone interested, the two cinemas use Doremi servers, Christie projectors and a Dolby 5.1 system with fifteen speakers, centre, left and right each comprising a top and bass speaker, one sub and eight surround speakers per auditorium. It looks and sounds great. The seating is comfortable and set in such a way that you always have a clear view of the screen, so no heads in front of you getting in the way. The theatre rooms have a lovely warm atmosphere with stonewalls and archways from the original construction yet with a very contemporary feel.

The building dates back to 1870s. At this time the market town of Builth Wells grew as a Victorian Spa town thanks to the railway and a space was needed for an indoor market and assembly rooms. The assembly rooms upstairs were used for meetings, concerts and dancing. There were shops at street level and the market hall was on the same level as the river. It has been a cinema right from the start of public film screenings in the Edwardian era with traveling cinemas and survived throughout the twentieth century with the idea for an Arts Centre conceived in the 1960s so the town could benefit from a cultural centre as it does today.

All very interesting and there is a detailed history section on the Wyeside website here 

Jo & I also managed to have a tour of the building with Tim Ferrett, technician and chief projectionist, who showed us backstage. A fascinating look at how things work in the modern digital age with large files, networked servers and automated screenings.

To date we have seen Victoria and Abdul and the The Greatest Showman and have tickets booked for Martin and Eliza Carthy who are coming to Builth in February this year and we can’t wait.

We may also try the Welsh language course… not to be put off by Rhod Gilbert


One of the two theatre spaces at the Wyeside Arts Centre