Hall for Cornwall occupies an important Grade II listed heritage building built in 1846. November 2017 will mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of the theatre, as we now know it.
To celebrate this milestone in the theatre’s history and as we look towards our capital redevelopment project, we have put together a timeline of some of the highlights from across the two decades, which we hope you’ll enjoy remembering.
1846/47 – the building that we see today was built in the fashionable Italianate style, built from Carn Brea granite to reflect the affluence of Victorian Truro. It housed the Town Hall, Magistrates and Stannary Courts, Police Office and cells and the Fire Brigade.
1900s – the building was adapted for various uses including an ice-skating rink and picture house, before being used as a public hall.
1914 – fire gutted much of the building bringing the clock crashing into the council chamber.
1920s - part of the building was leased out as a rifle range. The council met to decide on new proposals for use of the public hall and designs were invited ‘to accommodate 1000 persons on the ground….a stage suitable for the presentation of plays’.
1960s/70s – the building had a variety of uses including hosting gigs, music contests, amateur dramatics, trade shows and markets. Queen’s Roger Taylor played there and Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart vied for dates alongside The Truro Fatstock Show.
1980s -1997 – following a successful campaign that saved Truro City Hall from being sold to developers, Hall for Cornwall, as we now know it, opened following a decade of public and community led campaigning and fundraising, using £5.7 million of private and Lottery funding. We acknowledge our debt to the citizens of Truro and their supporters for their single mindedness, courage and love of Truro, that led to the idea of Hall For Cornwall.
2000 - 2010 – Arts Council England and Cornwall County Council agreed to support the theatre and offered annual funding. The next ten years saw the theatre go from strength to strength, bringing world class productions to Cornwall and winning several major TMA awards.
2010 - present day – the focus has been on building partnerships to present a diverse local, national and international programme, of high quality drama, musicals, dance and drama, alongside a broad selection of one-night performances from jazz to folk, tribute acts to stand-up comedy. Highlights have included the British premire of Footsbarn's The Indian Tempest, the commissioning of Wah! Wah! Girls, the Cornish premiere of Institute by Gecko, Ultima Vez’s What the Body Does Not Remember (through membership of Dance Touring Partnership), the RSC’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, the introduction and growth of the Banff Film festival amongst the local surfing and extreme sports community and Kneehigh’s Tristan Yseult. Strong artistic relationhips have been forged with Rambert Dance and the RSC which, looking to the future, will nuture Cornish talent. Hall for Cornwall's own production company was launched in 2011 and we have since, produced three Christmas shows with a distinct Cornish personality