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View of Cardiff Bay and the Wales Millenium Centre

 Europe, United Kingdom, Cardiff

Location Information:

Wales Millennium Centre (Welsh: Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru) is an arts centre located in the Cardiff Bay area of Cardiff, Wales. The site covers a total area of 4.7 acres (1.9 ha). Phase 1 of the building was opened during the weekend of the 26–28 November 2004 and phase 2 opened on 22 January 2009 with an inaugural concert. The centre has hosted performances of opera, ballet, dance, comedy and musicals.


The venue, which also has a nickname locally as the Armadillo, comprises one large theatre and two smaller halls. It also includes shops, bars and restaurants. The Centre is home to the national opera, dance, theatre and literature companies of Wales, as well as the national orchestra. In total, the Centre has eight arts organisations in residence. The main theatre, the Donald Gordon Theatre, holds 1,897 people, the BBC Hoddinott Hall holds 350 people and the Weston Studio Theatre holds 250 people.

The Centre is the successor to a previous project on the site, the Cardiff Bay Opera House. This was a plan, supported by the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, to construct a permanent home for the Welsh National Opera. However, the project failed to win financial support from the Millennium Commission, the body which distributed funds from the UK National Lottery. After the Cardiff Bay Opera House project was rejected, a new project was conceived that included more than opera and was felt to be a better reflection of Welsh culture. The change of name symbolised this, but the project still had to overcome many hurdles. Funding from the Welsh Assembly and Millennium Commission took years to obtain. Cardiff Council had to buy the land after the previous owners, Grosvenor Waterside (Associated British Ports property division) threatened to built a retail centre there due to the delays. Further boosts were given by large donations from South African businessman Donald Gordon and a loan from the international bank, HSBC. The GB£20 million donation from Donald Gordon was split evenly between the Royal Opera House and Wales Millennium Centre and was spread over five years. This is believed to be the largest single private donation ever made to the arts in the UK

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