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Failed City of Culture 2017 bid may not stop Swansea’s Albert Hall revamp

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 21, 2013

  • Reanne Jones reacts to the news that Swansea will not be the 2017 City of Culture.

  • Members of the Cwtch the Bid team after hearing the news that Swansea had lost out to Hull in the contest to be the UK’s City of Culture 2017.

  • It appears that not everyone was impressed by the bid to become City of Culture 2017. One reader took this snap of graffiti sprayed underneath a billboard in the city centre. The message, reading “City of Culture...my foot!”, was daubed on a wall in Oxford Street, opposite Picton Arcade.

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THE £7million transformation of Swansea’s Albert Hall into a major live music and comedy venue should still go ahead despite the failure of the region’s bid to be City of Culture 2017.

Hull — an outsider according to the bookmakers — pipped Swansea Bay to the post when the winner of the contest was announced yesterday.

But organisers say they want to build on all the good things that have come out of the Welsh bid — and the refurbishment of the former music hall and cinema in the city centre is still on the cards.

However, it is not yet clear how many of the other events and projects which had been lined up for 2017 will now go ahead.

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Nick Bradley, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Although we’re disappointed, we will regroup and maintain the remarkable momentum that has been achieved this year.

“We may not have taken the prize, but I believe we’re firmly established as Wales’s city of culture and we can move forward with confidence for the future.”

Turning the Craddock Street building into an 800-capacity arts venue was the major capital programme in the unsuccessful bid.

Alongside that organisers had proposed an ambitious programme of events for 2017 including a spectacular floating theatre performance on the River Neath, a massed choral event in Parc y Scarlets written by Karl Jenkins, a major international Gower surfing festival, and comedy and music festivals — including the prestigious Womad festival.

Also being lined-up was a food and oyster festival, a Swansea Bay Expo highlighting the innovation and invention of the area from stained glass to the Bloodhound supersonic car, a new Horrible Histories Wales production, the Turner Arts Prize, a series of international conferences, and the world premiere of a new stage musical by Doctor Who writer, Russell T Davies.

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4 comments

  • bennyhill4  |  November 21 2013, 4:38PM

    BrynmillBill, "was there any chance of us winning", well the bookmakers thought so, and they get it right more often than not. Just a pity we were pipped this time, but let us all remember that there can only be one winner, so obviously we are not the only city to be dissapointed

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  • boggis  |  November 21 2013, 3:39PM

    Why replicate The Grand which is rarely full at The Albert Hall; find an alternative use.

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  • BrynmillBill  |  November 21 2013, 10:57AM

    Unlike local politicians, senior civil servants in Westminster have long memories. The last time a labour run administration in Swansea was handed a cultural prize, the City of Literature award back in the mid nineties? Ty Llen / The Dylan Thomas Centre was the offspring and was ruthlessly abandoned by the Council and the keys handed over to the University of Wales. Was there any chance of us winning the City of Culture with a lamentable track record like that?

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  • abertawejack  |  November 21 2013, 10:28AM

    We are indeed a "City of culture" and I'm surprised that not enough BIG names were used, to address the imbalance by promoting our bid. my warm "Thanks" to those that did have a go, with a hearty "Congratulations" to Hull. All is not lost though, the Albert Hall, will indeed be a fantastic venue towards the arts, as it is itself, a wonderful building which really must be saved and used for this purpose. Heritage and Lottery funding must be chased up at all costs, with also any left overs used to prop up The Palace theatre for further development. Go get them boyo's you know it makes sense.

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