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Catering specialists wanted for two Swansea cultural hot spots

Swansea Grand Theatre

Thousands of visitors to two Swansea cultural hot spots could soon be enjoying new food and drink experiences.

Swansea Council is looking for specialist partners to run catering facilities at the prestigious Grand Theatre and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.

The venues together attract more than 300,000 visitors a year. Both have busy, high-profile city centre locations due to benefit further from the council’s ongoing city centre regeneration.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said:

“We want visitors to have first-rate and good value food and drink options matching the unique qualities of each wonderful venue.

“Our new partners will understand and share our ambitions to attract more people to our venues.

“They will create an offer that is unique, attractive and in line with our audience’s needs and expectations for a day or night out as well as for those hiring our venues for an event or for a distinctive experience for their clients or business.

“Our preferred partner will offer a high quality cost-effective service that helps us to sustain the venues for the long term through increasing the commercial sales and revenues, supporting our ambitions for growth.”

The Grand, dating back to 1897, and the Glynn Vivian, built in 1911, have had major modern improvements.

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The most recent commercial catering and bar service agreements at the venues have come to an end. This provides the council with the opportunity for a new contract for both venues. Interested parties can bid to run one or the other individually, as well both venues jointly.

The Grand has around 230 shows a year and more than 600 events in total. They range from large-scale musical theatre touring productions to smaller community productions and hires. Meeting areas and commercial spaces are available for hire.

The latest pantomime attracted around 40,000 people – and the 2019-20 panto is expected to follow suit.


The theatre’s food and drink areas are the Footlights Café/Restaurant and the Grand Circle Bar.

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Pic: Chris Boorman, 2017

The Glynn Vivian is flourishing after it reopened in October 2016, following a multi-million pound redevelopment. It is funded and run by the council, with partnership funding from Arts Council of Wales. It is part of the Plus Tate scheme, a national partnership connecting art visitors and people around the UK and bringing world class exhibitions from the Tate’s own collection every year.

The gallery has around 500 events a year, including exhibition previews, workshops, talks, tours, films and late night events. There is a regular learning programme for local organisations who meet at the gallery regularly.

It hosts exhibitions, collections displays and learning activities, working with local, national and international partners. The gallery has a lecture theatre suitable for conferences and seminars, meetings and events, which sit alongside state of the art exhibition spaces, accredited to host world class touring exhibitions.

Major attractions due this year include a major summer exhibition in collaboration with London’s world-renowned Hayward Gallery and the annual Swansea Open which puts the spotlight on local talent.

Its main public catering is the café, immediately inside the new street level entrance alongside the shop and gallery reception.

Selecting and appointing new caterers is being undertaken through a competitive tender process published on Sell2Wales. All details and inquiries should be directed through this portal.

Deadline for bids is February 15.

Those successful will be asked to launch their service in April this year. The initial contract will run for five years.