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Information about PressPack

Published on November 23, 2007

Author: Sevastian


Slide1:  Wales Millennium Centre Media Information Introducing Wales Millennium Centre:  Introducing Wales Millennium Centre “The Wales Millennium Centre proves to be an excellent dance house. The stage is broad and handsome, the acoustics spacious. The auditorium, lined in stripes of local wood, is wide but well-focused. I swapped seats in the first interval, and found good sightlines upstairs and down.” The Independent The award winning WMC building connects with the imagination and communicates a statement about the nation. What you see in and around WMC has been inspired by Wales, its landscape, its traditions and its people. Unmistakably Welsh, internationally outstanding An international centre for the performing arts Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant arts developments in Europe today. Since its opening on November 26, 2004, it has taken its place alongside the leading performing arts venues of the world. The cornerstone of the building is the main 1,900 seat Donald Gordon Theatre. This world class venue presents some of the most outstanding musical theatre, opera, dance, physical theatre and ballet performances from across the globe. The centre’s other stage, the 200 seat Weston Studio, forms a dynamic theatre for interesting new work to support and promote cultural development and to provide a platform for talented emerging artists - especially from Wales - to showcase their work. Partners Facilities:  Facilities The Donald Gordon Theatre The centrepiece of Wales Millennium Centre is the Donald Gordon Theatre, in which audiences enjoy some of the best opera, musicals, ballet and dance from around the world. Seating 1,900, the auditorium is designed to world-class opera, dance and orchestral acoustic and sight-line specifications. The detail, the materials and the lighting within the Donald Gordon Theatre make it a strikingly distinctive and memorable venue. ‘World Class Acoustics’ WMC can boast one of the best lyric theatres in the world with its variable acoustic installation that ensures the highest possible quality of sound for both the natural acoustics of opera and the amplified sound of musical theatre. “The auditorium is a joy, airy and buoyant, with staggering acoustics and extremely comfortable” The Spectator “Wonderfully clear and lucid playing from the orchestra, the rich yet unclogged sound an encouraging advertisement for the theatre's warm acoustics” The Sunday Telegraph Facilities :  Facilities Donald Gordon Theatre 1,900 seats, world class lyric theatre Weston Studio Theatre seating 200 Dance Studio within Diversion’s fully equipped ‘Dance House’ Beautiful public spaces which provide areas for a number of free daily arts performances in a relaxed setting Three large rehearsal suites and an orchestral rehearsal hall within WNO’s production facility A range of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars Corporate hospitality rooms A fully equipped recording studio operated by Tŷ Cerdd Residential accommodation (150) beds for youngsters operated by Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the youth movement of Wales The facilities at Wales Millennium Centre include: Concourse Western Studio Rehearsal studio “The Wales Millennium Centre is bright, spacious and flawlessly egalitarian. Covered by abronze shell, clad in Welsh slate, the building has succeeded since its official opening in November to be all things to all men.” Financial Times Opening the door to a world of arts:  Opening the door to a world of arts WMC is an ideal place to journey through the rich and diverse world of the arts at your own pace. From watching an international spectacle in the Donald Gordon Theatre, to seeing home-grown talent present their work in the relaxed atmosphere of the ‘Glanfa’ foyer performance area. Offering a broad range of varied arts and performance events, from dance and ballet to opera, musical theatre and contemporary circus, recent performances have included ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ and the Australian Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of ‘Swan Lake’. The Australian Ballet – Swan Lake Miss Saigon The Kirov Ballet Cirque Eloize WNO - Magic Flute Anything Goes “The first big balletic event at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is the current two-week season by the Kirov Ballet. And what better way to begin? The theatre is a stunner: handsome in aspect, welcoming, vastly attractive in its interiors with slate and oak and polished steel, and with an auditorium that stresses terracotta and pale wood with faultless sight-lines and acoustic.” Financial Times Resident companies:  Resident companies Not only is WMC the venue for many touring productions, it is also home to seven of Wales’s leading arts organisations: Welsh National Opera (WNO) is a world-class touring opera company. Each year it presents 120 full-scale performances to more than 150,000 people across England and Wales. In addition to the companies own work, each company also contributes to all aspects of the Centre’s life and vibrancy. Academi is Wales’s national literature promotion agency and Society for Writers, offering advice, information and assistance to promote the work of Welsh writers in both Welsh and English. Diversions is a contemporary touring dance company that offers a range of dance and educational programmes throughout Wales. Every year the company tour Wales and selected UK venues as well as one international exchange each year. They are rapidly developing a reputation amongst the international dance fraternity. As Wales’s leading small-scale touring theatre, Hijinx take quality performances to audiences in communities across the principality. This pioneering charity uses dynamic combination of arts, movement, music and touch therapy techniques to enhance the lives of the profoundly disabled. Tŷ Cerdd is a one-stop music service, embracing research, education and performance. Tŷ Cerdd has a walk-in music information centre and a fully equipped recording studio within the Centre. Tŷ Cerdd also includes The composers of Wales. The Urdd is Wales’s largest youth organisation providing the young people of Wales with the opportunity of socialising through the medium of Welsh. The Urdd operates four residential centres across Wales offering a range of outdoor and cultural pursuits as well as organising Europe’s largest youth festival ‘Eisteddfod yr Urdd’ in May-June each year. At WMC, the Urdd has dormitory facilities for 150 young people at the Centre, which welcomes over 10,000 children a year to the capital city for a cultural experience and an unique opportunity to live within a performing arts centre and experience all the magic of the theatre. artsExplorer & Public Programmes:  artsExplorer & Public Programmes A free interactive gallery artsExplorer is a hands on interactive exhibition which aims to inspire visitors to explore the arts. Visitors can: Try their hands at stage management, finding out if their stage hands and fly operatives are up to the task! Explore the many different ways of lighting the stage and performers by explaining the different effects of spotlights or footlights Find out about some of the superstitions associated with the stage and theatre Create your own inscription using tactile words Catch a glimpse of the first entries from the Encyclopaedia of Wales in digital format  Access a wealth of Welsh musical talent at the Tŷ Cerdd Listening Booths and much more! A daily programme of free events and performances :  Drop into the foyer of Wales Millennium Centre for a range of informal performances. Most days at lunchtime and early evening you can catch music ranging from jazz, traditional, classical, world, choirs, brass and much more through to readings and performance literature - entirely free of charge. Join us for either a full performance or drop in and sample what’s going on whilst enjoying lunch or a snack. Most of the lunchtime performances start at 1pm, though occasionally they may start earlier if there is a matinee performance at the Centre on that day. There are also afternoon, early evening and occasional evening performances too. WMC holds summer activity workshops for children of all ages. Activities include singing, dancing, drama and storytelling and children can either take part in activity days or hour long workshop. A daily programme of free events and performances Overlooking the main public area of the ‘Glanfa’ are two levels for visual art exhibitions.  Visitors are welcome to view the exhibitions at any time that the building is open. The programme of changing exhibitions concentrates on the work of contemporary Welsh and Wales-based artists. Exhibitions/Visual Art Space The Building:  The Building Instantly recognisable, the award winning Wales Millennium Centre building has become a national icon both in terms of culture and architecture. The striking design of the building combines modern design with the innovative use of locally-sourced materials. Throughout the building, there are details inspired by the Welsh landscape and its rich industrial and cultural heritage. These diverse features combine with its dramatic coastal position make WMC not only a striking architectural spectacle, but also unmistakably Welsh. It strikes a national chord and communicates volumes about Wales to the thousands of domestic and international visitors who visit the Centre. Located in the heart of Cardiff Bay, once one of the UK’s leading industrial parts, the building makes reference to the materials that once formed the backbone of Wales’s industrial economy. Locally-sourced materials Slate - The inspiration for the slate walls came from the cliffs of Ogmore and Southerndown. The slate was sourced from the slate waste tips of North Wales quarries. Steel - The stainless steel for the roof dome was treated near Pontypool and an oxidised coating applied to support the aging of the material in the maritime climate of Cardiff Bay. Glass - Sandwiched between the strata of stonework are thick blocks of glass layers which appear like quarts fissures in the slate walls. This award winning glass structure was developed specifically for WMC by the renowned Swansea Institute Architectural Glass department. Wood - The sweeping curves of the balconies, constructed in a mixture of beautiful Welsh hardwoods (from renewable sources in mid-Wales) were chosen for their colour, texture and their natural warmth. The Inscription:  The Inscription Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Centre’s design is the inscription that forms the letter windows at the front of the building. The beautiful piece of poetry chosen for the letter inscription was composed by leading Welsh poet and writer Gwyneth Lewis. In 2005, Gwyneth was made the first Poet Laureate of Wales. Designed to reflect the cultural ambition of the Centre, the words draw both on Wales's industrial past and the building's location in Cardiff Bay, once one of the greatest industrial ports of the world. CREU GWIR FEL GWYDR O FFWRNAIS AWEN (Creating truth like glass from inspiration’s furnace) IN THESE STONES HORIZONS SING Welsh-language inscription Gwyneth Lewis says: "The copper dome of the building reminded me of the furnaces of Wales's industrial heritage. I wanted to link that to medieval Welsh tradition, and Ceridwen's cauldron, from which the poet Taliesin received his inspiration. "Awen" suggests both poetic inspiration and the general creative vision by which people and societies form their aspirations.” English-language inscription "It was important to me that the English words on the building should not simply be a translation of the Welsh, that they should have their own message. The strata of the slate frontage of the WMC reminded me of the horizons just beyond Penarth Head. The sea has, traditionally, been for Cardiff the means by which the Welsh export their best to the world and the route by which the world comes to Cardiff. The stones inside the building literally sing now that the building is open, and I wanted to convey the sense of international space created by the art of music.” “Wales is appointing its first poet laureate, Gwyneth Lewis, described as "the country's best-known poet since RS Thomas". Lewis's claim to fame is that she composed the words on the front of the Wales Millennium Centre: "In these stones, horizons sing." Great stuff.” The Sunday Times WMC offers more than an arts experience:  WMC offers more than an arts experience In addition to being an arts venue, WMC offers a range of bars and restaurants to enjoy either before, during or after the performance, or at any time of the day or night. From a pre show dinner at Brazz to a coffee with friends at Crema or a delicious sundae at Hufen there is somewhere to suit everyone’s taste and pocket. Brazz – a chic and cosmopolitan watering hole, it is the place to be seen Crema - a contemporary coffee shop Fizz - this exclusive champagne and wine bar with balcony views over Cardiff Bay Hufen - an ice cream parlour and patisserie One - bistro food and drink Awen, Horizons and Stones - foyer bars on levels 2, 4 and 5 Portmeirion - a gift shop that sells unusual and Welsh gifts as well as WMC merchandise. The style design is mirrored by the fashionable clientele, many of whom probably have no idea what’s on in the nearby auditorium – for them, Brazz is a good night out full-stop. The Guardian Brazz Awen foyer bar Crema Key People:  Key People Roger Spence Project Director, WMC (client’s representative during construction) Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd Contractor (Construction) Capita Percy Thomas Jonathan Adams, Project Architect. Rob Firman, Project Director Arup Acoustics Acousticians Arup Structural and Services Engineer Carr & Angier Theatre Consultants Clarus Consulting Project and Cost Managers Sir David Rowe-Beddoe DL Chairman, Wales Millennium Centre Sir David is an international businessman with a considerable track record of public service and work for the arts. Judith Isherwood Chief Executive, Wales Millennium Centre Previously Director of Performing Arts and acting Chief Executive of the Sydney Opera House. Fiona Allan, Programmes & Marketing Director Ruth Garnault, Public Programmes Director Brian Loudon, Venue Operations Director David Pearce, Customer Experience Director Richard Tynen, Development Director The Building Project Press office contacts:  Press office contacts For further press and media information, please contact: Esther Eckley WMC Media Relations Manager +44 (0)29 2063 6428 Nia Jones WMC Media Relations Officer +44 (0)29 2063 6403 Founding Partners Supporting Partners

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