North West Wales

Bryn Terfel: Bangor's Pontio arts centre 'needs time'

Bryn Terfel
Image caption Bryn Terfel performing at the BBC's Proms in the Park in Swansea in September

Opera singer Bryn Terfel has played down the delayed opening of Bangor University's new arts centre, saying the project needs "time to get everything perfect".

Pontio was due to open last month but that has been delayed to February 2015.

The £49m project has also gone £12m over its original budget.

Terfel, who the theatre will be named after, said the goal was to have a venue of "high standards - and not to rush to finish everything quickly".

On Monday, it emerged Bangor University was warned Pontio could be delayed and run over budget six months before it cancelled the opening production.

Image caption Pontio's official opening has been postponed until February

Terfel told BBC Wales' Cymru Fyw: "Obviously there is disappointment for many about the delay in opening the theatre in Bangor,

"On the other hand, we need to take a step back and take time for the good of the staff, the artists, the audience, and the visitors.

"The goal is to have a theatre of high standards - and not rush to finish everything quickly in order to throw performances on."

He said he had attended many openings including Galeri in Caernarfon, the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and the reopening of the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.

"I remember going into one of them to practise, and the workers were still at it finishing the work, with all sorts of bits and bobs everywhere, without mentioning the dust and the paint," he said.

"That isn't ideal, and of course it's dangerous."

The singer hoped everyone would be able to proud of the new theatre when it eventually did open but added: "At the moment what is needed is time... time to get everything perfect, and to carry on with the standard started by Theatr Gwynedd in a beautiful location.

"The man who has had the pleasure of having a theatre named after him is satisfied that it's taking the necessary time to complete the project correctly, and I'm proud of that."

Rising costs

In 2010 it was announced that Pontio would go ahead at a cost of £37m, but additional costs have pushed the total to over £49m.

Almost three-quarters of the budget comes from public funds:

  • £15m from the Welsh government's strategic capital fund
  • £12.5m from the European Regional Development Fund
  • £3.5m from the Arts Council of Wales
  • £400,000 directly from Welsh government
  • £1m from donors
  • The remainder of the funding came from Bangor University.

Image caption Pontio's £37m building costs have risen to £49m
Image caption Contractors say they are aiming to finish the work as quickly as possible

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