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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Ifans opens language centre
Rhys Ifans
Rhys Ifans opened the 250,000 centre

Film star Rhys Ifans has returned to north Wales to open a heritage centre.

The actor, who shared the screen with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the 1999 hit film Notting Hill, arrived at the Nant Gwrtheyrn language centre on Monday to launch a week-long festival.

Nant Gwrtheyrn in the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd, is a facility where people learn about the Welsh language and culture.

The star, who was brought up in Ruthin, said he was delighted to be asked to officially open the centre.

"I've never been asked to open something before - other than a bottle of cider," he said.

The Super Furry Animals, of which Ifans was an original member before Hollywood beckoned, played an exclusive gig in front of 60 people at the centre.

More than 250,000 has been spent developing the Heritage Centre at Seilo Chapel in the village.

Family connection

Worshippers will still use the building but it will also house an information point, providing information about the local area.

Rhys Ifans has strong connections with the region and his brother Llyr lives nearby in Caernarfon.

Their family were initially involved in raising money towards creating the language centre.

"More recently, my partner Jessica has been here on a Welsh language learners course," said Ifans.

The centre runs courses for 600 Welsh learners a year .

Super Furry Animals
Super Furry Animals performed a private gig

Ifans now lives in London, after leaving north Wales to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the age of 18.

He started his career in Welsh language television, most notably as one half of the Two Franks on S4C.

Since Notting Hill, he has starred in numerous films including Kevin and Perry Go Large, The 51st State with Samuel L Jackson and more recently, the comedy drama Once Upon a Time in The Midlands.

The film, which also stars Robert Carlyle, is set in Nottingham and stars Ifans as a garage owner who opens the film by proposing to his girlfriend on a daytime TV show.

The celebrations at Nant Gwrtheyrn will continue for the rest of the week, with a "Talwrn y Beirdd" poetry evening and an evening with singer Dafydd Iwan.

The week will end in Gwyl y Nant - the annual music and entertainment festival held on the village grounds.

Ifans back for heritage launch
01 May 03  |  North West Wales
New era for language centre
19 Feb 03  |  Wales

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