Wales Millennium Centre


Wales Millennium Centre

This icon of Cardiff’s redeveloped docklands opened in November 2004. It contains a 1,900-seat theatre and a 250-seat studio theatre, and provides a base for several artistic organisations.

Wales Millennium Centre grew out of proposals in the early 1990s to create a new home in Cardiff for Welsh National Opera. Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid won the competition, but the opera house failed to secure the necessary funding. The Centre was conceived, for the same site, as a centre with a broader artistic remit.

A key aim (of both projects) was to provide a stage for touring musicals, ballets and other large-scale productions, for which Cardiff’s earlier theatres were too small.

Wales Millennium Centre is also a creative organisation in its own right, increasingly producing its own touring work and curating high-profile festivals and engagement projects. As well as providing a year-round programme of theatre performances, the Centre is open for visitors daily from 10am where you’ll find the UK’s biggest range of free performances on the Glanfa stage, free art exhibitions, and The Milipwts’ Den - a free interactive experience for children.

The Centre is also home to BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the BBC Hoddinott Hall hosts public performances. Other groups based here include Hijinx Theatre, Literature Wales (formerly Academi), Welsh National Opera, National Dance Company Wales (formerly Diversions) and the Dance House. WNO performs three seasons per year at the Centre.

Tŷ Cerdd music centre, also at the Centre, provides a recording studio and other facilities for musicians. Urdd Gobaith Cymru (Welsh youth organisation) has a hostel in the Centre which gives young people from across Wales an insight into the arts and into their capital city. The Touch Trust provides creative therapy sessions at the Centre for disabled children and adults.

The Centre was designed by Jonathan Adams, of Capita Percy Thomas. It is shaped to echo the undulating landscapes of Wales. Waste slate from various Welsh quarries was arranged in layers of different shades to represent geological strata.

The copper structure above the front entrance represents Wales’ once-prolific copper industry. It’s pierced with giant letters which spell out inscriptions by poet Gwyneth Lewis: “In these stones, horizons sing” and “Creu gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen”. The letters are illuminated by the buildings interior lighting at night. The Welsh inscription translates as: “Forging truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration."
To hear the words in Welsh, press play: Or, download mp3 (33KB)

The Centre’s construction cost £106m. Funding came from several sources including the Welsh Government and National Lottery Millennium Fund.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: CF10 5AL

What’s on at the Centre

Learn more about the Centre’s resident groups


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