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Pontio’s opening artistic programme looks to the future whilst acknowledging the past

Pontio, Bangor University’s soon-to-be-opened Arts and Innovation Centre, will announce its inaugural artistic programme today, 28 October 2015.

The programme, which runs from 28 November until the end of April, reflects the new centre’s eclectic nature, with events ranging from the premier of new Welsh drama Chwalfa to a collaborative performance with contemporary circus company NoFit State, the return of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to Bangor, an evening with Ruby Wax, a chance to showcase new music as BBC DJ Huw Stephens presents… and plenty of comedy and cinema.

Children and families have a central role in the programme, with monthly ‘Pontio Family’ shows, opportunities to take part and educational events. 

The opening season is also a chance for the new centre to acknowledge the past, including the heritage of the local area through 9Bach’s collaborative project Llechi and the history of the great strike in Chwalfa along with the legacy of Theatr Gwynedd through a timely installation and celebratory event at the end of April.

The season kicks off on Saturday 28 November with ‘Disgleirio/Shine’, a Welcome Day to celebrate the opening of the centre to the public. The day will include three 20-minute performances by contemporary circus company Pirates of the Carabina, who will perform in the dramatic central foyer of Pontio, showcasing the centre’s suitability for groundbreaking theatrical experiences.  Joining them will be pupils from Ysgol Glanadda and Glancegin, as part of the centre’s participative programme BLAS.

On December 1st, the centre’s cinema will officially open, with former Bangor University graduate Danny Boyle’s brand new film Steve Jobs as the first film. December sees Mid Wales Opera bring a celebration of opera to the centre through Figaro and Friends, Only Men Aloud visitng as part of their Christmas tour and Cwmni Mega’s Welsh pantomime Melltith y Brenin Lludd offering entertainment for schools and families.  

The centre will also showcase local talent throughout the opening programme, starting in December with a gig featuring some of the most popular Welsh acts Swnami, Yws Gwynedd and Yr Eira, choir Côr y Penrhyn joined by Llanelli Male Voice Choir, Meinir Wyn Roberts and Glain Dafydd and Ysgol Tryfan’s new musical, Y Bancsi Bach.

Highlights in the new year include Ruby Wax’s one woman show Sane New World, Comedy Central Live stand-up comedy gigs and Russell Kane’s one man show, pianist Llŷr Williams and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and monthly shows for children and their families, including the world premier of the intriguing These Book Are Made for Walking.

Elen ap Robert, Pontio’s artistic director said, “Whether it’s events that push the boundaries, a feast for the eyes and ears or a good laugh, we’re here to welcome you. I very much hope that this opening programme showcases the type of venue Pontio hopes to become, and allows us to better understand what type of events audiences want to see at the centre.”

Bryn Terfel, after whom the main theatre at Pontio is named, also offered his best wishes as the opening programme is announced:

“What an amazing honour for me personally to even be considered to have a theatre named after me. Pontio in Bangor has taken its time to be built, and, without a doubt, should take its time to be built. Once it is up and running I will certainly be the first to be there by hook or by crook as an audience member or performer and when the time is right dates will be added. In the meantime I wish Pontio and all its staff and creative team, without their hard hats, all the very best for what will be a memorable inaugural season.”

Tickets available from the Pontio website, by phoning 01248 38 28 28 or calling into the shop on the High Street in Bangor from 10am today, 28 October 2015.

Publication date: 28 October 2015