The front of the building started life as the Ocean Collieries, Maindy & Eastern Workman’s library and Institute in 1895 and cost £4,000 to build.
On the ground floor was the newsroom, refreshment room and caretaker’s room. First floor was the library and committee room. In the attic, were two bedrooms and store rooms. In 1904, the Workman’s Hall was attached, providing a stage and hall for concerts and entertainment. ‘Animated pictures’ were started in 1908. The hall was converted to a cinema in 1931 with the installation of the ‘talkie machine’. Due to the local mine closures the hall fell into decline in the 1940’s. It became known as the Ton Pentre Workman’s Hall after WW2.
Films were shown until 1971 when it’s last film was Countess Dracula, starring Ingrid Pitt. After 1971 it became a Bingo hall which continued until 1989 and it was then left derelict until 1991 when it was bought by RCDA. (Rhondda Community Development Association). RCBI Rhondda Community Business Initiative was formed in 1990 and re-opened as Phoenix in 1991. In 1996 it was listed as Grade 2 by Cadw.
In 2012 funding was obtained from SEWCED South East Wales Community Economic Development, Arts Council of Wales, Coalfields Regeneration, European Development Fund, Rhondda Cynon Taff Council for improvements to the Cinema including, Digital Projector, Stage ropes and pullies, stage repairs, cinema seating, signage, redecoration, heating repairs and the employment of 1 part time Marketing Officer and 1 part time Projectionist. Since April 2014, the cinema has been operation, using its new state of the art digital projector.
After a few technical hiccups The Lego Movie was screened and weekly films are shown, programmed around the live theatre shows which are the mainstay of the building.
More information can be found here http://webapps.rhondda-cynon-taf.gov.uk/heritagetrail/english/rhondda/tonpentre.html