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New centre attracting controversy

The new centre will receive £27.5m of capital funding from the Welsh Government and European Regional Development Fund, as well as funding from the Arts Council of Wales and Bangor University.

The project has attracted criticism from Welsh language campaigners, who claimed the scheme was neglecting the language, and are calling for any jobs created to go to Welsh speakers.

There was also controversy over the gap between the closure of Theatr Gwynedd and the opening of the centre, which is scheduled for 2013/2014.


Minister to lay foundation stone

Artists impression of the new Pontio Arts and Innovation Centr Credit: Bangor University

The latest stage of the construction of the new Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre in Bangor will be marked today when education and skills minister Leighton Andrews lays the foundation stone.

Tenor, Rhys Meirion, will be among performers at the event. The £44m centre will house a 450-seat theatre, multimedia centre and studio theatre, along with bars and dining areas.

There will also be new teaching and social learning spaces for use by students, members of the community and businesses.

Bangor University vice-chancellor, Professor John G Hughes said: “This is going to be a focal point for the local community and the university alike – a place to meet, learn and be entertained as well as a home for innovative research, design and learning."

Pontio’s artistic director Elen ap Robert said: “We want to spark people’s imagination today on the building site by giving a flavour of things to come. The centre will be home for all sorts of creativity, from drama and cabaret to aerial theatre and classical concerts."