St David's Hall

St David's Hall (Welsh: Neuadd Dewi Sant) is a performing arts and conference venue in the heart of Cardiff, Wales.

St David's Hall
Neuadd Dewi Sant
St. David's Hall Logo
St David's Hall by night, in 2014, showing the remodelled façade and the base of Cardiff's BBC Big Screen.
St David's Hall by night, in 2014, showing the remodelled façade and the base of Cardiff's BBC Big Screen.
General information
TypeConcert Hall
Architectural styleBrutalist
LocationThe Hayes
AddressThe Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH
CountryWales, United Kingdom
Coordinates51°28′49″N 03°10′36″W / 51.48028°N 3.17667°W / 51.48028; -3.17667Coordinates: 51°28′49″N 03°10′36″W / 51.48028°N 3.17667°W / 51.48028; -3.17667
Construction started1977[2]
Inaugurated30 August 1982; 37 years ago (1982-08-30)
OwnerCardiff County Council
Technical details
Floor count7
Design and construction
Architecture firmSeymour Harris Partnership[1]
Structural engineerOve Arup and Partners[1]
Main contractorJohn Laing & Son[1]
Other information
Seating capacity1,500 [3]
Number of rooms24 [3]
St. David's Hall

St David's Hall is the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales. It hosts the annual Welsh Proms,[4] the International Orchestral Series,[citation needed] and the biennial BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.[5] As well as classical music it also plays host to jazz, soul, pop, rock, dance, children's, rhythm and blues, musicals and other forms of world music, as well as light entertainment artists like Joan Collins. The foyers in the centre are open and have regular free performances from music groups. The foyers, balconies and bar areas are also used to host art exhibitions.


St David's Hall in 2007
The Upper floors of St David's Hall with St. David's shopping centre on the ground floor

Planning and ConstructionEdit

Credit is given to the Conservative leader of Cardiff City Council, Ron Watkiss, for bringing St David's Hall to fruition. A bronze bust of him is on display in the foyer of the building.[6]

Architects Seymour Harris Partnership had the task of fitting a major 2000 seat, acoustically perfect auditorium, with surrounding dressing rooms, bars, foyers, a restaurant, offices and spacious concourse into a cramped city centre space. The space available was so cramped that they had to fit the complex into and on top of an already planned and partly built St. David's Shopping Centre. As a result, they had to use every inch of space available and the building has an unusual shape. The main contractor was John Laing & Son.[7] It held its first concert on 11 September 1982.[8] It was officially opened over 5 months after the first concert on 15 February 1983 by the Queen Mother, followed by a concert by the Welsh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes. Hughes and Watkiss later brought the Welsh Proms to the venue.[9]

The Wales Millennium Centre has added significantly to the arts and cultural scene already present in the city of Cardiff. The angular grey concrete that makes up nearly the whole visible exterior and some interior foyers looks unmistakably 1970s/1980s modernist new build; the architectural magazine Building Design described the hall's style as "complex late brutalism".[10]


BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (BBC NOW) is the orchestra-in-residence at St David's Hall, performing regularly between September and June each year.[11] Almost all of the orchestra’s concerts at St David’s Hall are recorded for live or deferred broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and there are dedicated recording facilities within the concert hall to facilitate broadcasts.[12]

Present dayEdit

The interior of St David's Hall

Major events held at the Hall include the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition held every two years and the Welsh Proms held annually. Prizes for the Welsh Artist of the Year are awarded at the venue every June, followed by an exhibition of the winners and shortlisted works.[13]

Audiences have remained constant at the Hall but political favour and the Wales Millennium Centre's national subsidy has made it a challenge for the Hall to compete[citation needed]. St David's Hall is continually developing its variety of shows, and has recently re-branded the L3 Lounge venue, which has a partly seated capacity of 350 and is mainly used for daytime concerts, the Roots Unearthed folk series and more recently Blas* – A Taste of the Fresh Welsh Sound.

St David's Hall is owned, managed and funded by Cardiff Council. It has an education and community department called 'A2: Arts active: Education, Community and Audience Engagement at St David's Hall and the New Theatre which mounts various schools and arts outreach projects.


The concert organ of St. David's Hall was completed by Peter Collins in 1982,[14][15] at a cost of £168,000.[16] This would be the largest organ he ever built.[17] The wooden case was designed by Ralph Downes.[18] Due to problems with the action, J. W. Walker & Sons replaced the action and console,[14] a great embarrassment at the time considering the cost of the organ.[16] The organ has 3 manuals, and German-style continental registrations.[14] It sits in Tier 5, behind the main stage platform.

The main auditorium of St. David's Hall is regularly host to organ events, including lunchtime concerts.[19] Many organists travel to try out the organ, and others come to give recitals,[20] notably Olivier Latry[18], Anne Marsden Thomas,[21] Ghislaine Reece-Trapp,[21] and Margaret Phillips.[22] St. David's Hall has also hosted concerts for major organ events such as the 2019 RCO OrganFest.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ a b c d Reeves, Robin (12 October 1982). "Companies and Markets: St David's Hall Cardiff". Financial Times. London, England.
  2. ^ a b "St David's Hall: A Brief History". Stdavidshallcardiff.couk. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Conference Rooms Capacities" (PDF). St. David's Hall Cardiff. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  4. ^ "THE WELSH PROMS". THE WELSH PROMS. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  5. ^ "About Cardiff Singer". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  6. ^ "Bust of Ron Watkiss, St David's Hall". Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  7. ^ Ritchie, p. 166
  8. ^ "Cardiff Schools". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  9. ^ Hughes, Owain Arwel (2012), Owain Arwel Hughes: My Life in Music, University of Wales Press, pp. 115–116, ISBN 978-0-7083-2531-5
  10. ^ Hatherley, Owen (6 November 2009). "Cardiff: Baudrillard at the Eisteddfod". Building Design. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  11. ^ "BBC - BBC National Orchestra of Wales announces its 2018/19 Season - Media Centre". Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  12. ^ "St David's Hall, Cardiff - St David's Hall Venue & Room Hire". Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  13. ^ "Welsh Artist of Year: Fleece painter Paul Emmanuel". Retrieved 2015-06-01.
  14. ^ a b c "The National Pipe Organ Register - NPOR". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  15. ^ IAO, Alan T. for. "Home Page". OrganFest19. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  16. ^ a b "St David's Hall, Cardiff". Mander Organs. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  17. ^ Moult, Daniel (2 February 2016). "Peter Collins (1941 – 2015)". Rhinegold. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  18. ^ a b "BBCNOW/Atherton, St David's Hall, Cardiff". the Guardian. 2002-12-10. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  19. ^ Calendar, The Events. "Lunchtime Concert St David's Hall, Cardiff – Paul Carr". Paul Carr Organist Recitalist. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  20. ^ Wales), St David's Hall (Cardiff (2016). Catherine Ennis, Organ: Tuesday 22 March 2016 1pm. St David's Hall.
  21. ^ a b "Lunchtime Concerts at St David's Hall". Cardiff Times. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  22. ^ "Lunchtime Concerts at St David's Hall". Cardiff Times. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  23. ^ "Viscount Organs Organfest BIOS, the IAO RCO". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  24. ^ "RCO Courses, Classes and Events: OrganFest 2019". Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  25. ^ "OrganFest 2019". MUSIC:ED. Retrieved 2020-07-30.


  • Ritchie, Berry (1997). The Good Builder: The John Laing Story. James & James.

External linksEdit