Northern Ireland

Bangor performing arts centre gets go-ahead

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Media captionAn artist's impression of the centre, which will feature a 350-seat theatre

A £12m performing arts and technology innovation centre has been given the go-ahead in County Down.

The facility will be built opposite the South Eastern Regional College campus in Bangor, and is due to open in 2015.

It will feature a theatre and rehearsal studios, along with teaching facilities for students to learn about technology.

Plans for the facility were shelved in 2010, but Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said he had secured the necessary funding.

"In the last few years Northern Ireland has become a major location of choice for the film industry and we have had the international success of some notable local artists," he said.

Image caption The facility will be built opposite the main South Eastern Regional College campus in Bangor

"The development of a 350-seat theatre will be of significant value to both students and the wider community.

"The technology innovation centre will also deliver teaching facilities and offer learners a business-quality learning environment that will further enhance the college's existing capacity for renewable energy and sustainable technology and engineering sciences."

The centre will have rehearsal and production studios and will have the capability to stage professional productions.

South Eastern Regional College principal Ken Webb said it would "serve business and industry with state-of-the-art equipment and cutting edge services".

"The only performing arts venue in the north Down area, the centre will provide an innovative curriculum to fill the well recorded technical skills gaps which are needed to drive the industry forward," he said.

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