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Wales Millenium Centre was officially opened
by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in November 2004, a mere 33 months
after construction had begun.
The venue provides a new home for seven arts companies, including
the Welsh National Opera, the Welsh youth organisation Urdd Gobaith
Cymraeg, Diversions Dance Company and disabled therapists the Touch
The Donald Gordon Theatre within the Wales Millennium Centre is
named after the businessman who donated funds to the project.
Wales's landmark venue makes for a great night out if you fancy
a night at the opera. Why not pay a visit as part of a self
catering cottage holiday at Swansea Valley Holiday Cottages?
you go down to the Bay today you might see a giant golden armadillo!
What used to be Tiger Bay and one of the world’s largest coal
ports is now transformed into a modern shop and restaurant-fronted
bayside development, complete with its own Opera House.
The Wales Millennium Centre, with its copper-tiled roof reflecting
the sun is the centrepiece and architectural landmark of the new
Cardiff Bay development. With probably the world’s largest
poem etched into its face, and the slate walls man-made versions
of the Glamorganshire Heritage coast, the building is representative
of its home country - inspired by Wales and built by Welsh materials
at a cost of £106m.
The curtain finally went up on the Wales Millennium Centre in November
2004 with a gala opening. The main theatre, named after a South African
businessman benefactor has a capacity of 1,900 and its deceptively
huge stage could fit not only the stage of Cardiff’s smaller
New Theatre, but also its auditorium! The Centre houses additional
theatres and is home to the Welsh National Opera, Hijinx Theatre and
Diversions Dance company, among others. There is even a 150-bed dormitory
tucked away, run by Urdd Gobaith, the childrens Eisteddfod.
The architect had this to say: “Entering the building, the
visitor steps out of the real world.” The classical tradition
of carved inscriptions over entrances of important civic buildings
continues in a contemporary manner with the poem. It was written
by Wales’ National Poet, Gwyneth Lewis, and with each six-foot
tall letter made of stained glass and set in glass-reinforced gypsum
she said: “I find it quite shocking to see them so large.”
Each of the letters of the inscription is a window of its own, opening
up the theatre foyers for people looking in, and looking out. And
what is the bilingual poem? “In these stones horizons sing”
is the English part. Not just a translation, the Welsh part says:
“Creu Gwir fel Gwydr o Ffwrnais Awen” which means: 'Creating
truth like glass from inspiration's furnace.'
Ms Lewis said: “I wrote the words to reflect the cultural
ambition of the Centre. They draw both on Wales's industrial past
and the institution's location in Cardiff Bay, once the greatest
coal port in the world.”
She wanted the words to reflect the architecture, the copper dome
reminding her of the furnaces of Wales's industrial past and Ceridwen's
cauldron, from which the early poet Taliesin received his inspiration.
'Awen' suggests poetic inspiration and the general creative vision
from which aspirations are formed. Ms Lewis thought of the stones
inside the theatre singing with music wanted to convey the sense
of an international space created by the art of music.
She continued: “The windows out of which the words are made
suggest an ideal of poetry: clear enough to let light in and out,
offering enough a distinctively local view of the world; it should
speak a truth which is transparent, beautifully crafted but also
fragile and, therefore, doubly precious.”
Inside the theatre are the usual cafes, bars and shops with a hands-on
interactive gallery and on the upper levels a visual art exhibition.
tours are available, and free performances take place regularly,
usually on a daily basis – check the Wales
Millenium Centre website for more details of what's on.
Getting to the Wales Millenium Centre (or Center)
from Swansea Valley Holiday Cottage Accommodation
(i) By car. Our cottages are an easy 45 minute drive from the
Wales Millenium Centre along the M4 motorway. Leave the M4 at
junction 33 (Signed Cardiff (West), Barry, Penarth, Cardiff Airport
& A4232). Join the A4232 and continue for about 9.3 miles.
Leave the A4232 just before the Butetown Tunnel and follow the
signs for Techniquest. Continue along Stuart Street and turn right
at the first set of lights. The Wales Millennium Centre is in
front of you.
For alternative directions or a map use the AA's
route planner along with the holiday cottage postcode, SA8
3JQ and the Wales Millenium Centre postcode, CF10 5AL.
Further information may be obtained from Wales
Millenium Centre website.
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