North West Wales

Pwllheli arts centre celebrates centenary as a cinema

A Gwynedd arts centre is marking 100 years as a cinema with a celebration of the golden age of local film-making.

Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli first opened its doors to show silent movies in 1911.

After a extensive refurbishment the 354-seat theatre will screen historic films from the National Screen and Sound Archive in Aberystwyth.

Gwynedd council said it was committed to Neuadd Dwyfor's long-term future.

The archive films being shown over two days, ending on Tuesday, span the early years of film-making in Wales.

They include newsreels, the 1918 biopic The Life Story of David Lloyd George, and a variety of films of local interest.

Among these will be Flying in Pwllheli (1911), the Carnival and May Queen of Pwllheli in the 1920s and 30s, and visit of the National Eisteddfod to Pwllheli in 1925, where the Queen of Romania joined the crowds at the festival.

Pianist Paul Shallcross will provide live accompaniment to these silent movies.

Image caption An early photograph of Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli

Also in the programme is the enigmatic Y Chwarelwr (The Quarryman) by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards from 1935, re-mastered by Caernarfon-based production company Cwmni Da, complete with sound track and the last reel which had long been thought lost.

Renovation work at the council-run centre has seen the installation of new windows, a new ceiling in the auditorium, roof repairs and the replacement of equipment.

Meanwhile, Gwynedd council has said discussions are under way on finding another body or organisation to take over the Neuadd Dwyfor's operation.

Councillor Roy Owen, who is responsible for the arts on Gwynedd council, said: "Everyone associated with Neuadd Dwyfor are to be congratulated for ensuring that this much-loved cultural venue and local institution has reached this important landmark of a century of cinema at Pwllheli.

Image caption An image from Y Chwarelwr (The Quarryman) by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards from 1935

"Gwynedd council is committed to maintaining Neuadd Dwyfor's long-term future as a theatre, cinema, exhibition space and cultural centre for the local community.

"The council has recently completed major renovation work which will protect the building for the future."

The council said it had been looking at whether another organisation could run the building on its behalf since February, but changes in management would not occur until the second half of next year at the earliest.

"The council is committed to ensuring that any potential changes to the management arrangements would not impact negatively on the service experienced by the public," said Mr Owen.

"It is expected that a report updating councillors on the initial discussions will be presented to the council board in the coming months."

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