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Arts and Entertainment

Swansea Arena reveal first shows to go on sale

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Swansea Arena has today announced that Alice Cooper and The Cult, Diversity, Katherine Ryan and Rob Brydon will be the first shows to go on sale for the hotly anticipated new venue.

All are on general sale from 10am, Friday 17th September via swansea-arena.co.uk

This reveal is the first announcement of many for the brand-new, state-of-the-art, 3,500 capacity indoor Arena, as it maps out an incredibly exciting future with unwavering focus on bringing world class shows to Swansea. 

The venue’s high profile opening headline music act is yet to be revealed, with the announcement expected in the coming weeks.

Music

On Monday 23rd May 2022, Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper and rock icons The Cult will open their co-headline tour at Swansea Arena as the acclaimed stars from both sides of the Atlantic come together to create rock history.

Renowned for their unforgettable live shows, we can anticipate a dark, twisted trip through goth, psychedelia, macabre theatre and straight up rock anthems when these two giants take the stage.

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Alice Cooper
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Comedy

Katherine Ryan

Bringing the laughs to the Arena’s stage are top class comedians Rob Brydon and Katherine Ryan.

Coming to Swansea Arena on Saturday 30th April is Rob Brydon – A Night of Songs & Laughter tells Rob’s personal musical journey from South Wales to the West End and beyond. 

With songs from Tom Waits to Tom Jones, and Guys and Dolls to Elvis (and almost everything in between), audiences can expect Rob’s usual warmth and humour as he regales them with hilarious tales from his distant and recent past.

On Friday 13th May, star of Netflix smash hit series The Duchess (along with two global Netflix comedy specials: In Trouble and Glitter Room), comedian and TV’s Katherine Ryan makes a hugely welcome return to the stage with her brand-new live show Katherine Ryan: Missus. Having previously denounced partnership, Katherine has since married her first love… accidentally.

A lot has changed for everyone, and we can look forward to hearing Katherine Ryan’s always-hilarious new perspectives on life, love, and what it means to be Missus.

Entertainment

The first entertainment act to be announced at Swansea Arena is world renowned dance group Diversity, who have added an extra date to their ‘Connected’ 2022 tour due to phenomenal demand. They will come to Swansea on Tuesday 7th June 2022, on a tour that now takes in a staggering 79 shows, their biggest ever tour to date. 

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Created by Diversity’s lead member Ashley Banjo, ‘Connected’ centres around the world of social media, the internet, and the digital era we now live in, but more importantly how this connects us all. 

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General Manager, Lisa Mart says: “We’re absolutely over the moon to reveal some of the amazing artists that we are bringing to Swansea Arena next year. These are some of the most high profile music, comedy and entertainment acts out there, and for most, aside of course from the wonderful South Wales born Rob Brydon, this will be their first show in Swansea.

“This is the beginning of something truly special; we will be sharing news of further shows over the coming weeks and months, including our yet to be revealed opening act. Watch this space for further announcements!”

Artists impression of the inside of the new Swansea Arena

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted that the arena tenants and operators ATG have already secured acts of this quality for Swansea Arena. Many of the acts have never performed in Swansea before, so this shows the impact our new arena development is having.

“This will help build excitement towards the announcement of many more acts in coming weeks and months, including the main opening act for Swansea Arena.

“At the heart of the city’s emerging new £135m Copr Bay district, the new arena will be a world class destination for local people and visitors to the city. It’s one feature of a multi-million pound regeneration story unfolding across Swansea that will create well-paid jobs for local people and attract significant further investment as Swansea is transformed into one of the UK’s best cities to live, work, study and visit.”

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The flexible space will allow a number of different configurations, including traditional auditorium seating

Swansea Arena is expected to host up to 200 performances across music, comedy, esports, sport and conference events for an estimated 230,000 visitors each year.

The development of the Arena will be a significant landmark within Swansea’s city centre and its £135 million transformational Copr Bay Phase One project, which is being delivered by the Council working alongside development manager RivingtonHark. Once complete, it will comprise the brand-new 3,500 capacity indoor arena and conference centre – next to Swansea Marina – as well as new independent restaurants, city centre apartments, a 1.1-acre coastal park, two new multi-storey car parks, and a new ‘gateway’ landmark pedestrian and cyclist bridge over Oystermouth Road, to provide a seamless passageway connecting the revived city-centre to Swansea’s Marina and its famed coastline.

Swansea City Centre is one of the largest urban transformations currently being delivered in Europe; over £1billion is being invested across the city, allowing Swansea to realise its potential to be one of the most vibrant places to live, work, visit and study in the UK.

The arena also forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project which is being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

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Carmarthenshire

Kaiser Chiefs to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse in Carmarthenshire

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Kaiser Chiefs are set to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse near Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire on Thursday 2 June 2022.

The special ‘Live After Racing’ show will invite audiences to enjoy an entire day of horse racing, with the added bonus of a full live set by the indie titans late into the evening.

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Established as one of the best loved guitar bands to emerge this century, the Kaiser Chiefs will be heading to the races with a winning set-list of bona fide indie belters in their arsenal.

Over the last 15 years the Kaisers have become a real household name, from their seven critically acclaimed and Top 10 charting albums selling multi-millions worldwide, to making memorable performances at some of the biggest events in recent history including Live 8 and the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, and winning innumerable awards including ‘Best Live Act’ at both the Brit Awards and Q Awards. 

With top 10 hits like ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Ruby’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘Never Miss A Beat’, and ‘Everyday I Love You Less & Less’ all cementing the band’s penchant for penning contemporary pop classics like few of their peers, the many highlights to be found on their acclaimed #3 charting 2019 album ‘Duck’, illustrate a band that have no intention of slowing down soon.

With a reputation as one of the best live acts in the biz, if there’s one safe bet to place all day, put it on a hit-packed set from the Kaisers…

The event, rescheduled from 27 August last year, is priced at £35 advance, £25 for under 18s, with under 5s admitted free of charge.

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Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

(Lead image: Kaiser Chiefs)

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Carmarthen

Save the Cinema Film make scenery at UWTSD Set & Design Production Workshop

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The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Set Design Production Scenery Workshop has revealed its involvement in the newly released ‘Save the Cinema film for Sky.

The film ‘Save the Cinema’ is a true story looking back at Liz Evans’s campaign to save the Lyric Theatre from closing in Carmarthen. Stars such as Jonathan Pryce, Samantha Morton, Tom Felton, Adeel Akhtar and Susan Wokoma feature in the film.

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As the production started, art director Gwyn Eiddior visited UWTSD’s Carmarthen Campus to see if there were any props or scenery he could possibly use for the film as it was being filmed in Carmarthen. After requesting on social media later that day for use of a workshop to build sets for the film in Carmarthen, Lecturer Dave Atkinson suggested for them to use the facilities at UWTSD.

As a result of this, the film’s construction team were based at UWTSD’s Set Design Production Scenery Workshop, meaning that all of the construction work and scenic art created for the film was made on campus. Along with Dave who was employed as the workshop manager, two graduates from the BA Set Design & Production course, Mari Hullett and Ashley Phillips were fortunate to gain work from this project in the scenic art and graphics departments.

They worked alongside the experienced production designer Jonathan Houlding who has  worked on high-end screen productions such as ‘Love Actually’, ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Martian.’ Dave adds,

“We created a variety of scenery for the film. Largely dressing for the Lyric Theatre, and the theatre scenery they were filming on. The hairdresser’s salon was the largest build which was an empty shop. We had to reinstall a whole salon in there. One fun element to make was the Big Breakfast set – we made the bedroom where they interviewed people.”

UWTSD Lecturer Dave Atkinson at the University’s set design workshop (Image: UWTSD)

Graduate Mari Hullett said, “Working on ‘Save The Cinema’ as a scenic artist was an amazing opportunity and I will always value my time being involved in the production as an experience to take further into my career.

“I am extremely grateful for the chance of working alongside the friendly and highly skilled scenic and construction team as I was able to learn so much from them. I was also able to work on different roles within the art department such as graphic props, which I greatly appreciated as I got to experience a broader spectrum of skills involved on a film set.

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“As a whole, it was a really heart-warming experience to be a part of a project that involved my university town and the wider community.

“This was also my first professional role on a film project which has opened my eyes to the growing opportunities within the film industry in Wales. I am very excited to see this on-screen!”

An experience like this has been a fantastic opportunity, and a chance for the students to have an insight into the industry.

Dave Atkinson adds: “Welcoming Sky Cinema onto campus has given UWTSD Carmarthen the opportunity to not only showcase the high-quality practitioners that graduate from the Set Design & Production course, but to also exhibit the facilities we have, such as the scenery workshop which is equipped with top of the range tools and machinery.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Art

‘Pass me my brush, nurse’ – Swansea surgeon turns his hand to painting on TV’s Watercolour Challenge

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A Swansea Bay surgeon will swap the operating theatre for the TV screen later this month when he appears on Channel 5’s Watercolour Challenge.

Mr Shehzad Latif will prove he is equally adept at using a paintbrush as he is a scalpel when he competes against three other amateur artists tasked with capturing four different Welsh landscapes.

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The popular daytime TV programme, presented by Fern Britton, will see the artists given four hours to paint, in watercolour, the same scene or landscape, often with widely different interpretations, before moving onto another location.

Mr Latif is also a talented poet having won praise from the judges in the international Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine for his poem Singleton Hospital at Night and a poem on spina bifida, inspired by his son who has the condition.

He said: “I do watercolours and pastels, mainly landscapes, with Rhossili being my favourite place to paint.

“It really is one of the most beautiful spots. The other place I have become really found of is the Lougher Estuary, it has beautiful skies.”

The programme is due to air on 31 January. Mr Latif explained he became involved after receiving an email from a friend in the Arts Society of South Wales asking for volunteers wanting to apply for the programme.

He decided to apply and sent some off some of his paintings to the programme-makers.

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“One of the producers got in touch via Zoom and said she really liked my work but it would be up to the judges.

“Six weeks later I had an email saying, congratulations, you have been chosen as one of the four contestants.

“The first two sessions took place in Crickhowell, on the Glanusk Estate. It was a beautiful location looking across towards Pen y Fan. Then we moved on to St Donats, near Llantwit Major, before finishing off in the heritage park in the Rhondda.

“As is typical in Wales, we had the whole gamut of the four seasons within two hours.

“The first day was nice and warm, beautiful sunshine, and then one hour into the contest I saw the clouds approach and then we had the wind, the hail and the rain.

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“It was fun running from one place to another, trying to save our work.”

Mr Latif, who is based in Morriston Hospital and specialises in abdominal wall reconstruction, said he really enjoyed the experience.

“I learnt a lot. From the runners to the cameramen, and from Fern to the judges, the whole production team were remarkable.

“It was an interesting format, we were just told to paint and the judges came around towards the end and selected the winner of that programme. I believe the viewers will be asked to select the overall winner of the series.”

But even if he wins the competition there is no danger of his giving up the day job.

“I love my job too much to take up painting full time.”

Mr Latif,  a member of the Swansea Arts Society who has previously displayed his work in Singleton Hospital, is selling some of his work to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

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He said: “As a member of the British Obesity Metabolic Society of Surgeons, for whom I am also poet in residence, I always turn up armed with my poems and paintings. The members really look forward to it.

“And some of my paintings are going to be sold on the Obesity UK Society’s website to raise money for the charity.”

(All images: Swansea Bay NHS)

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