CEREDIGION MUSEUM in Aberystwyth are looking for people who have memories they would like to share about their experiences at the Coliseum for their ‘Gathering Memories’ project.
The museum has recently started the project ‘Gathering Memories’ in order to create an oral history archive about the Coliseum as part of the HLF funded New Approaches project, worth £1.3 million.
The memories submitted will form an archive that will be used for creating new displays and a film about the history of the Coliseum. The memories will also be used as inspiration for the creative design of the new shop and cafe.
The Coliseum was opened as a theatre in 1905 and became a cinema in 1933. It closed in 1976 and re-opened as the Ceredigion Museum in 1982.
Carrie Canham, Curator at Ceredigion Museum, states: “The Coliseum is a very special building and visitors often tell us about their fond memories when they visit. We’ve started to record these memories for posterity, including those of Walford Hughes, who was born in 1920 and remembers seeing performances and magic lantern shows here when it was still a theatre.”
Some people may remember the life of the Coliseum as a cinema, under the management of Harry and Olive Gale who hoped to provide ‘amusement without vulgarity’, and ran a continuous programme until its closure in 1976. Others may even have memories of the museum’s early days and memorable exhibitions; there may even be valued memories of those who worked there. All accounts of the buildings past will help bring the history of the Coliseum to life.
Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said: “I particularly remember coming here to see the film ‘Herbie Goes Bananas’ with my husband Iolo, who is an avid film and VW fan. It was sometime in the early seventies. We had just come back from holiday and I’m afraid that I fell asleep and missed most of it! There is a lot of interesting history connected with the building and we would love the local community to get involved and share their stories with us.”
If you, or someone you know, has memories of the Coliseum, or you might want to volunteer a few hours of your time to help collect and record the memories, please get in touch with the Museum team – they would love to hear from you. Full training and support will be provided, and no experience is necessary, just some free time and an interest in people and history.
To find out how to get involved, please call the team on 01970 833 087 or email museum@ceredigion. gov.uk. Alternatively, drop in at the Museum on Saturday, August 6, between 2pm and 4pm for a cup of tea, when there will be Coliseum memorabilia for visitors to look at that may jog memories further.