St David's Hall
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|St David's Hall|
St David's Hall by night, in 2014, showing the remodelled façade and the base of Cardiff's BBC Big Screen.
|Address||The Hayes, Cardiff, CF10 1AH|
|Country||Wales, United Kingdom|
|Inaugurated||30 August 1982|
|Owner||Cardiff County Council|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Seymour Harris Partnership|
|Structural engineer||Ove Arup and Partners|
|Main contractor||John Laing & Son|
St David's Hall is the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales. It hosts the annual Welsh Proms, the International Orchestral Series and the biennial BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. As well as classical music it also plays host to jazz, soul, pop, rock, dance, children's, r&b, musicals and other forms of world music, as well as light entertainment artists like Joan Collins. The foyers in the centre are open and have regular free performances from music groups. The foyers, balconies and bar areas are also used to host art exhibitions. It also has its own restaurant.
Architects Seymour Harris Partnership had the task of fitting a major 2000 seat, acoustically perfect auditorium, with surrounding dressing rooms, bars, foyers, a restaurant, offices and spacious concourse into a cramped city centre space. The space available was so cramped that they had to fit the complex into and on top of an already planned and partly built St. David's Shopping Centre. As a result, they had to use every inch of space available and the building has an unusual shape. The main contractor was John Laing & Son. It held its first concert on 11 September 1982. It was officially opened over 5 months after the first concert on 15 February 1983 by the Queen Mother, followed by a concert by the Welsh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes. Hughes and Watkiss later brought the Welsh Proms to the venue. BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (the BBC NOW) is the orchestra-in-residence at St David's Hall, holding regular concerts with reasonably priced tickets to try to attract families who perhaps would not normally consider going to a classical concert.
Major events held at the Hall include the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition held every two years and the Welsh Proms held annually. Prizes for the Welsh Artist of the Year are awarded at the venue every June, followed by an exhibition of the winners and shortlisted works.
The Wales Millennium Centre has added significantly to the arts and cultural scene already present in the city of Cardiff. The angular grey concrete that makes up nearly the whole visible exterior and some interior foyers looks unmistakably 1970s/1980s modernist new build; the architectural magazine Building Design described the hall's style as "complex late brutalism". Audiences have remained constant at the Hall but political favour and the Wales Millennium Centre's national subsidy has made it a challenge for the Hall to compete. St David's Hall is continually developing its variety of shows, and has recently re-branded the L3 Lounge venue, which has a partly seated capacity of 350 and is mainly used for daytime concerts, the Roots Unearthed folk series and more recently Blas* – A Taste of the Fresh Welsh Sound.
St David's Hall is owned, managed and funded by Cardiff Council. It has an education and community department called 'A2: Arts active: Education, Community and Audience Engagement at St David's Hall and the New Theatre which mounts various schools and arts outreach projects.
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- Reeves, Robin (12 October 1982). "Companies and Markets: St David's Hall Cardiff". Financial Times. London, England.
- "Bust of Ron Watkiss, St David's Hall". Historypoints.org. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- Ritchie, p. 166
- "Cardiff Schools". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
- Hughes, Owain Arwel (2012), Owain Arwel Hughes: My Life in Music, University of Wales Press, pp. 115–116, ISBN 978-0-7083-2531-5
- "Welsh Artist of Year: Fleece painter Paul Emmanuel". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-06-01.
- Hatherley, Owen (6 November 2009). "Cardiff: Baudrillard at the Eisteddfod". bdonline.co.uk. Building Design. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- Ritchie, Berry (1997). The Good Builder: The John Laing Story. James & James.