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£35m arts venue planned for Bangor

North Wales university starts design work on major "innovation hub" development

By Pete Hayman

Plans for a new £35m arts and innovation centre in Bangor, North Wales, have taken a step forward after Bangor University started design work. The Pontio Project – a name

derived from the Welsh word for "to bridge" – will include the creation of a dynamic innovation hub, learning facilities and a new home for the university's students' union. Indoor and outdoor perfor-

mance spaces, including a 450-seat theatre, a rehearsal studio, cinema space and an outdoor amphitheatre, are also being planned as part of the scheme, which has been backed by a £15m grant from the Welsh Assembly Government.


Ipswich set for major new arts venue

A new art gallery and museum

Vice-chancellor Professor Merfyn Jones (left) and Professor Lowe

London-based architects

Grimshaw; Yorkshire-based consultants Atkins and design firm Arup have been appointed to design the building, with initial designs due to be revealed in April ahead of a public exhibition.

Bangor University deputy

vice-chancellor Professor Fergus Lowe said: "This is the project that will provide a centre of such remarkable innovation and artistic excellence that it is sure to draw the attention of people from near and far."

Edinburgh concert hall launches new public wing

By Pete Hayman

An Edinburgh concert venue has unveiled its new public wing, following the completion of a major multi-million pound refurbishment of the Grade A-listed building. The renovation of Usher Hall,

which has received funding from a range of public sector organisations, has included the creation of a new café and bar area, an expanded box office area and new hospitality spaces.

Usher Hall's new café facilities

Work on the new wing has

formed the second phase of a three-stage scheme, the first of

could open in Ipswich later this year under plans currently being explored by Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk New College. The facility would be housed in the college-owned former Art School on Ipswich High Street, which is currently empty and will be used as an educational resource for local schools and students. A fundraising drive is set to get underway, while the council is planning to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Nederlander acquires London theatre stake

Theatre operator, the

which was completed in December 2000 to provide a new stage and the installation of removable seating. Phase two cost around £25m

and included the public wing, expanded cloakroom and toilet provision, refurbished dressing rooms and enhanced protec- tion of the venue's acoustics. A purpose-built education

space has also been created as part of stage two, while the third stage is currently ongoing to improve the public realm.

Council backs new home for Warwick theatre company

Warwick District Council (WDC) has approved plans for the refurbishment of a Grade II-listed former church in Leamington Spa to provide a new home for the Loft Theatre Company. The former United Reform Church building

on Spencer Street will be extended and revamped as part of the project to create a

© Cybertrek 2010

new performance centre, which will establish a focal point for the arts and creative industries. Plans to overhaul the former church will also

contribute towards the first phase of WDC's five-year regeneration strategy for the Spencer Yard area, which will result in the mixed-use redevelopment of the riverside area.

Nederlander Organisation, has acquired the remaining share in London's Dominion Theatre after receiving backing from Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets. The US-based company, which runs nine Broadway theatres across the US, has now added the Dominion venue to its existing London portfolio comprising the Aldwych and Adelphi theatres. A team from Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets' technology, media and telecoms team worked with the Nederlander Organisation to provide a funding package that allowed the deal to be completed.

Council drops plans to sell off artwork

Southampton City Council has

performed a u-turn on its plans to sell off two renowned works of art valued at around £5.5m as part of a bid to help raise funds for the city's proposed new Titanic museum. Last year, the council revealed its plans to sell the works but Royston Smith, the council's cabinet member for economic development, told the BBC that the plans had been dropped and had only been considered as a last resort to help fund the Titanic scheme.

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