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Manalo & White wins Bangor theatre contest

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Manalo & White Architects has been selected to transform a Grade II-listed church into a £3.2 million home for the Frân Wen youth theatre in Bangor, north-west Wales

The London practice defeated an undisclosed shortlist to win the commission tendered by local authority Cyngor Gwynedd Council.

Manalo & White will transform St Mary’s Church into a new home for the organisation, which currently operates from an ‘inadequate and restrictive’ former schoolhouse in nearby Menai Bridge, Anglesey.

Manalo & White director Brian Greathead said: ‘We’re honoured and thrilled to have the chance to create an important cultural building for north Wales.

‘We’re excited to work with Frân Wen who share our ambition to set a benchmark for creating an inclusive new environment for the community. St Mary’s Church had served the city of Bangor for centuries, and the new facilities will breathe life back into the historic building.’

Frân Wen’s independent board chairman Irfon Jones added: ‘This announcement is an exciting step forward in the plans for a centre for young people that will be home to Frân Wen.

‘I am sure this outstanding design team will deliver plans for an exceptional new place for the enjoyment and understanding of the arts that is  welcoming and open to all.’

The practice will create a venue for space for rehearsals, workshops and small-scale performances inside the 1864 church. Once complete it will feature offices, performance areas, studio ‘pods’, a digital studio, meeting spaces and a flexible gallery.

The scheme aims to provide an ‘innovative and iconic building and playful outdoor green space in the heart of Bangor’. 

A planning application will be submitted next year following consultation with local young people and the wider community.

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