Wales

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama revamp unveiled

A £22.5m development of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, including a 450-seat concert hall, has been unveiled.

There is also a 160-seat theatre named after actor Richard Burton, along with studio, teaching, rehearsal and foyer spaces.

The concert hall is named after Dora Stoutzker, a major donor's mother who used to teach music in south Wales.

A gala opening is due to take place later this month.

College principal Hilary Boulding said: "Offering world class facilities in such a stunning location will allow us to continue to attract leading international arts practitioners to work here, and to increase national and international recognition for Cardiff as a home of world class artistic training.

"They will also significantly enhance opportunities for audiences in the city and region of Cardiff, and for the many professional and community groups that contribute to Cardiff's vibrant cultural life."

Image caption The construction firm behind the project, Willmott Dixon, has now completed the work

The college, which opened in the grounds of Cardiff Castle in 1949, hosts more than 300 public events a year including theatre, opera, musicals and orchestral concerts and fashion shows.

Celebrated former students include actors and entertainers including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones.

The construction firm behind the project, Willmott Dixon, has now completed the work and handed it over to the college.

"These high-profile facilities will attract attention from across the world so it was important for the college that the development was striking, effective and able to provide the perfect acoustic environment for the many performances that it presents annually," said Neal Stephens, managing director of Willmott Dixon.

Musical mother

"It will not only attract students from across the world but will be a popular visitor destination, further enhancing Cardiff's offering."

The Dora Stoutzker concert hall was named after the musical mother of Ian Stoutzker, a merchant banker who has donated £500,000.

Born in 1897, Dora Cohen spent her first 25 years in Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, where she taught piano and singing until she married and left for London.

Mr Stoutzker was evacuated to his mother's birthplace when the family home was bombed during World War II.

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