CHRISTMAS has come early this year for Fishguard's Theatre Gwaun as the long-awaited community asset transfer (CAT) deal has been completed.

The transfer means that Pembrokeshire County Council has given the venue to the community and the building is now owned by the Theatr Gwaun Community Trust on behalf of the twin towns.

The transfer, the first under the CAT scheme, has been completed after 18 months of negotiations. The theatre's trustees Jill Edge and Brian Jackson signed the CAT agreement on November 1 and Pembrokeshire County Council has now put its seal on the deal, making it official.

The future of the theatre was under threat eight years ago in the light of county council cutbacks. Local residents formed the Friends of Theatre Gwaun and a group of community volunteers took over the running of the venue.

Since then the theatre has benefitted from the installation of a state-of-the art digital projector and sound equipment and a satellite link for live broadcasts.

Thanks to the efforts of the friends, the trust and committed community volunteers, as well as a skeleton paid staff, the venue now shows block buster films from date of release as well as live broadcasts from the Royal Opera House and National Theatre and live comedy, music and theatre.

Over the festive season the venue will be screening an abundance of family films including J.K. Rowlings' Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; The Grinch; Nutcracker and the Four Realms and Mary Poppins Returns.

"It is your theatre and all the trustees, staff and volunteers invite you to come and enjoy the sparkling array of films during the coming month," said trustee and founder of the friends group, Jill Edge.

"As a charity, Theatr Gwaun relies on the support and goodwill of local people, who for the past seven and a half years have shown their appreciation of this wonderful community resource. Now that we own it, it opens up all sorts of opportunities for the future – please take that journey with us."