Hollywood actor Rhys Ifans has been confirmed to officially open Galeri’s £4m cinema on Friday, 21st September.
To celebrate, a full day of activities has been confirmed with Galeri working in partnership with BAFTA Cymru and Into Film where schools and members of the public will have an opportunity to have an insight into the life and work of Rhys – from his youth, working on S4C programmes to now being a household name as a film and theatre actor.
The opening of Galeri’s new extension is the latest of a long list of regeneration projects carried out by the social enterprise, Galeri Caernarfon Cyf (formerly Cwmni Tref Caernarfon). The trust have to date regenerated over twenty properties in Caernarfon with the development of Galeri on Victoria Dock the largest project to date.
Within the 800m2 extension there are two dedicated cinema screens (119 seats / 65 seats) with 3D capability, a new entrance and box office, public art/craft display areas, a meeting room and dedicated creative space for various workshops to be held.
The development and implementation of whole project by the social enterprise Galeri Caernarfon Cyf has taken 7 years - and became a reality with financial support from the Arts Council of Wales (Lottery fund), Visit Wales TAD scheme (ERDF funding) and through Welsh Government’s VVP scheme. This development will see Caernarfon have the only full-time dedicated two screen cinema in Gwynedd and Anglesey.
Gwyn Roberts, CEO commented: “When you look at Caernarfon today, it’s easy to forget the condition the town was in back in 1992. This was the catalyst and driving force for the creation of Cwmni Tref Caernarfon (now Galeri Caernarfon Cyf) – and the company set out to regenerate several buildings within the walled town. Now 15 years after work on Galeri began, opening the new extension really completes the building in terms of the facilities and what we can do here. Since opening Galeri in 2005, we have organised over 400 events annually – and having the new screens will of course increase this number substantially moving forward. The company now employ 51 local people, and within Galeri there are over 10 resident companies working within the creative industries – all employing staff and making an economic and cultural contribution to the area. We now house the first purpose built cinema in the town since 1984 – and we are delighted that Rhys Ifans has agreed to officially open the screens.”
In response to the invitation to open the new extension, Rhys Ifans added: “The greatest investment we can make as a society is to give people the opportunity to experience the arts, and I am so pleased to be opening the new cinema screens at Galeri. Film is such a powerful medium which can take us to another world, inspire us with great stories and teach us about the emotions that we all share. This important investment is a fantastic opportunity for the local community to be able to watch the latest films together on their doorstep.”
The day will begin with a session for local secondary schools, organised by charity Into Film. The charity’s aim is to complement key national initiatives and developments and is tailored to meet the needs and demands of the Welsh educational and creative sectors.
Non Stevens of Into Film Cymru added: “Into Film is a strategic partner of the BFI Film Audience Network which supports venues like Galeri and working together to connect young audiences with the broadest possible range of film is integral to our work as a film education charity. This event with Rhys Ifans is a great opportunity to celebrate the power of film and engage and inspire the next generation of filmmakers and audiences.”
On Friday evening at 19:30, there will be a special ‘Evening with’ in the company of Rhys Ifans. This will be a Welsh language event chaired by Lisa Gwilym looking at Rhys’ stellar career. For nearly 30 years Rhys has been delighting audiences portraying unforgettable characters both fictional creations and real people. The evening is organised in conjunction with BAFTA Cymru and Into Film. Tickets (£10/£7) go on sale at 10am on Wednesday 5th September.
“BAFTA Cymru is very pleased to be supporting this special event to mark the opening of the new cinemas at Galeri” said Hannah Raybould, Director of BAFTA in Wales. “Having worked with Galeri for 3 years on regular events, it is going to be very exciting to devise new ways for the public to engage with the best of Welsh film and TV talent that these cinemas can host. Welcoming Rhys Ifans to this inaugural event will hopefully inspire the next generation of creatives and we are really grateful to Rhys, as a recipient of the BAFTA Cymru Sian Phillips Award, for his support.”
The new cinema screens will offer audiences access to a varied film programme suitable for the whole community – including regular “on-release” films, a purpose built cinema environment and an opportunity for the venue to bring in further income through live events in the theatre and hires/conferences/weddings to ensure a sustainable business model.
For the latest information, films and tickets – please visit galericaernarfon.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.