Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 15:10 UK
Curtain up on drama college refit
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
An artists impression of the 22.5m scheme which will offer new concert, theatre and exhibition facilities.

Work has started on a £22.5m building scheme to improve facilities at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

The plans include a 450 seat concert hall, a 160 seat courtyard theatre, four acting and movement studios and exhibition space.

The college is one of the UK's leading drama schools and trains around 600 students a year.

It's hoped that construction will be completed by 2011.

The college first opened in 1949 and was originally located in Cardiff Castle, donated by the Bute family to the people of Cardiff in 1947.

As the number of students attending the college grew work began in 1970 on a new site. In 1974 the college moved to its present location, the Raymond Edwards building on North Road in the grounds of Cardiff Castle.

In 2002, during her Golden Jubilee tour of Wales, the Queen announced that the college was to be allowed to call itself the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, making it the National Conservatoire for Wales.

Artists impression Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
The building will contain a large public foyer providing access to the new theatre and concert hall.

The college boasts a clutch of famous former students including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones and Eve Myles.

It hosts over 300 public events a year ranging from theatre and opera to design and fashion shows.

The landmark building will provide access to a new theatre and concert hall via a large public foyer providing views of Bute Park and with a parkside terrace. Developer Willmott Dixon will carry out the work.

Hilary Boulding, principal of the college said: "This new development will allow the College to greatly expand on its range of performances and community activities, as well as our interaction with creative industries both at home and internationally.

"We hope these will act as a magnet to attract the very best students and artists."

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