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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 May, 2003, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Ifans back for heritage launch
Rhys Ifans is a supporter of the language centre
Rhys Ifans is a supporter of the language centre

The actor famous for wearing the scene-stealing grey y-fronts in the film Notting Hill is returning to his native north Wales to open a new centre.

Rhys Ifans will be at the Nant Gwrtheyrn language centre in the Llyn Peninsula on Bank Holiday Monday to launch a week-long festival.

He will officially open a new heritage centre at the village's old chapel which has undergone a 250,000 renovation.

Later, the Super Furry Animals, of which Ifans was an original member before Hollywood beckoned, will play an exclusive gig in front of 60 people in the old chapel.

The actor, who was brought up in Ruthin, says he was very keen to come down to Nant Gwrtheyrn to officially open the centre.

I've always been very supportive of the work done here, and I was very glad to accept the invitation
Rhys Ifans

"I've had connections with Nant Gwrtheyrn for years," he said.

"My family were involved from the start in raising money towards creating the language centre and the opening of Ty Rhuthun.

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

"I've always been very supportive of the work done here, and I was very glad to accept the invitation to open the new Heritage Centre," he said.

Rhys 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 such as Rancid Aluminium by Welsh director Ed Thomas, 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.

Nant Gwrtheyrn from the air
The centre runs courses for 600 Welsh learners a year

His brother Llyr, who lives in Caernarfon, is also an actor and appeared with Rhys in the Swansea-based film, Twin Town.

Nant Gwrtheyrn's Chief Executive, Aled Jones-Griffith, said: "We're looking forward immensely to opening the new centre.

"It will not only be an important resource for the Welsh learners on our courses and for local people, but will also offer visitors a taste of the history of Nant Gwrtheyrn and the Welsh language and culture."

The residential centre is set in a former quarrying village in a secluded spot on the north coast of the peninsula.

The celebrations 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.

New era for language centre
19 Feb 03  |  Wales
Film brings out poetry of Welsh
22 Mar 03  |  Wales

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