In the 1990s, Ben Luxon and Chris Warner worked tirelessly to develop Hall For Cornwall as we now know it. When it opened in 1997, the programme note of the inaugural gala performance, asked the people of Cornwall to take ownership of a newly created space and use the Hall as a resource, a provider, a facilitator, a catalyst and an inspiration. Over the last 20 years, the people of Cornwall have done all of that and so much more.
Since digital records began 10 years ago, nearly 2 million people have been welcomed to 3,700 performances and 2,500 school bookings have brought over 100,000 young people to the venue. Access & inclusion performances have widened audience reach with 103 signed performances, 105 audio described performances and 25 relaxed performances, with a combined attendance of nearly 110,00 people. Audiences have travelled from Bude to Bodmin, Lands End to Launceston, Sennen to Saltash and Penzance to Polperro; and from as far afield as Australia and Iowa.
The community, education & talent support programme has given performance opportunities to an estimated 100,000 young people. Our Youth Theatre has performed on stage at London’s National Theatre and Stratford’s RSC, and we have won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Education, for co-creating a community opera with English Touring Opera. The Community Club scheme, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has welcomed over 10,100 first time theatre goers, who previously have not had the means to visit.
Over two decades, our stage has welcomed some of the most talented performers, companies and producers from around the world. The roll call is long but has included Morrisey, Rambert, Derek Jacobi, Kneehigh, Kernow King, Jimmy Carr, Sir Bob Geldof, Dionne Warwick, Sir Tim Rice, Rufus Wainwright, Simon Callow, National Theatre, Spy Monkey, Bill Kenwright, St Petersburg Ballet, Lee Dean, Footsbarn Theatre, David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, Boy George, David Ian, Nigel Kennedy, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Duchy Ballet, DV8, Richard Alston and many, many more.
The warmth, welcome of the venue and Cornish audiences has often been commented upon by visiting companies. Mark Baldwin, OBE, ex-Artistic Director of Rambert, commented; “Hall For Cornwall is a very important venue to us – we’ve been touring here thoughout its 20-year history and have a special relationship with the theatre, its audiences and this beautiful part of the country. I look forward to building on this relationship, both with the theatre and local artists, sharing in our passion for and commitment to creating contemporary dance of the highest quality. This exciting refurbishment will, I’m sure, play a crucial role in making that happen.”
Over the decades, the venue has played an important part in raising the standards and expectations of performance in Cornwall and has played a significant part in the growth of Truro’s cultural excellence.
It is with all of this history and spirit that we now look to the future.