Arts centre 'must reflect Bangor's cultural diversity'

By Huw Thomas
BBC Wales arts and media correspondent

  • Published
Osian Gwynn
Image caption,
Osian Gwynn became Pontio's new director in October

An arts centre must reflect the different cultures of people living in the city, its new director has said.

Osian Gwynn, who took up the post at Pontio in Bangor, Gwynedd, in October, said it was important for audiences to "see themselves represented on stage".

The centre opened in 2015 following delays and rising costs and is home to Theatr Bryn Terfel, a studio and cinema and Bangor University facilities.

Mr Gwynn said the Welsh language was central to his vision.

He succeeded Elen ap Robert, who was artistic director for the centre through the construction process until August 2019.

"There is definitely work to be done, with us and with every arts centre across Wales and the UK, "said Mr Gwynn.

"Bangor is a diverse city and a very rich city full of different cultures.

"I think it is important to present shows that they can identify with and that they can see themselves represented on stage."

Image source, Meirion/Geograph
Image caption,
Pontio's construction was beset by delays and rising costs

He said he was consulting widely on what to stage in future: "We need to be proactive and look for work and look for touring work [to come here], and that's a big part of my job - to look for the work that is going to appeal.

"Will an opera on the one hand, and a band touring Britain singing pop music on the other, be appealing to the same demographic?

"No. So the important thing is diversity, talking about diversity and communicating diversity in the right way."

He said giving a platform to new Welsh language productions was another priority.

"It is very important to me. Gwynedd is an area where the Welsh language is strong and Pontio should be the home for Welsh language theatre."