National Maritime Museum volunteer Patrick suggests new use for Bronze Age boat timber
Hall For Cornwall supporter Patrick Howard was listening to an update on the theatre’s transformation project last year when HFC CEO and Creative Director Julien Boast expressed his wish to use local materials as part of the project.
In one of those strange quirks of fate Patrick, a long standing volunteer at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, knew exactly where to find a quantity of seasoned Cornish oak planks – and a few weeks ago a lorry load of timber was making its way from the Museum to Truro.
Patrick and his wife Mandy moved to Cornwall just over ten years ago and latterly retired from his touring caravan manufacturing business in Bristol. A keen sailor, he began volunteering at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall almost immediately after the couple moved into their new home in St Mawes.
“I got involved in the boat repair side and was really lucky to play a small part in the project to build a Bronze Age boat using traditional materials and techniques “ he explained.
Following the completion of the project five years ago, the boat has been displayed outside the museum in Falmouth
Julien used local timber as an example of what he was looking for and his words sparked a chord in my brain “ said Patrick. “I explained my idea about using timber from the Bronze Age replica boat in the new HFC building to him after the presentation and, after gaining his enthusiastic support, went back to talk to the Museum”.
Staff at the Museum were delighted to back the proposal and last month the replica was dismantled and the timber moved to Truro, where it is now in storage while HFC’s architects decide where to use it in the building.
Both Patrick and Julien are delighted at the success of their joint endeavour which will see part of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall‘s heritage become part of Hall For Cornwall’s future.
“I was delighted when Patrick came to me with his idea for using timber from the Bronze age boat as part of our transformation project” said Julien. “Patrick is a highly valued supporter of HFC and it will be fantastic to have a permanent link between the two organisations”.
Patrick and Mandy, who now live in Mylor Bridge, are very excited by the plans for the theatre and say that they can’t wait for it to re-open in 2020.
“We are huge fans of Hall For Cornwall “ said Patrick. “There have not been many weeks when we have not come to the theatre since we moved to Cornwall. We have enjoyed all kinds of shows – from musicals and choirs, to wonderful dramatic plays and stand up comedians – and we are looking forward to seeing how Julien and his team use the new space when the building re opens.”
The new auditorium will offer much greater flexibility for programming – with the additional 300 seats enabling HFC to bring large West End shows to Cornwall at the same time as having the option to reduce the size to provide a more intimate space for smaller productions.
The transformed building will also provide space for HFC to extend its educational and outreach programmes – helping more children and young people to develop their creativity through its Youth Theatre and Youth Dance groups, and supporting a wider range of artists to develop their ideas. It will also include a new hub for people working in the digital and creative industries.
“Hall For Cornwall has been an important part of our lives since we moved to Cornwall” said Patrick. “We want our children and grandchildren to have the same opportunity to see amazing shows of all kinds as we have had ”.
“The transformed building will be a fantastic asset for Cornwall - and Cornwall definitely deserves it.
Wood from Bronze Age replica boat to have new lease of life as part of Hall For Cornwall transformation
Wooden planks from a replica Bronze Age boat built by volunteers from the National Maritime Museum in 2012 using traditional tools and methods are set to have a new lease of life as part of the exciting project to transform the Hall For Cornwall.
The 52 foot (15m) wooden boat – the first ever full size reconstruction of a 4000 year old bronze age boat to be built in the UK - was led by Professor Robert Van de Noort and a team of archaeologists from the University of Exeter. The boat reconstruction was built by local boat builder Brian Cumby under the supervision of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall’s Boat Curator Andy Wyke and workshop manager Mike Selwood in the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth between April 2012 and March 2013.
The aim of the unique reconstruction project was to trial the construction of the replica boat using only the tools and methods that would have been available 4000 year ago.
“This type of boat, known as a sewn plank boat, was believed to have been used in coastal waters and for moving people and goods between the UK and the continent” said Andy Wyke.
“As nails had not yet been invented, the boat was constructed from thick oak planks sewn together with yew withies and then caulked with moss. “
The original boat would have had a crew of between 10 and 30 people, and would have weighed around 4.5 tonnes.
During the past few years the replica has been displayed outside the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Now, as part of a partnership initiative, the replica boat has been dismantled and the oak panels transported to Truro where they are being stored ready to be recycled as part of the Hall For Cornwall project.
Andy Wyke is delighted that the wooden planks are going to be recycled in a new project. “Using the wood from the boat as part of the theatre will give the material a whole new lease of life” he said. “It seems very fitting for these oak planks to be re used in such an iconic Cornish building”.
Hall For Cornwall Director Julien Boast has welcomed the opportunity to include the wooden panels in the transformation project. “The construction of the replica Bronze Age boat forms part of the heritage of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall” he said.
“By incorporating the material into our building project, where it can be seen and enjoyed by current and future visitors and theatre goers, it will become part of the heritage of Hall For Cornwall.”
Discussions are currently taking place with HFC project architects Burrell, Foley, Fischer on how the oak panels could be used in the building.
WANTED … enthusiastic and talented young people to join Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre
10 January 2019
Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre
Do you enjoy performing on the stage? Are you interested in working in the theatre? Want to make new friends and try something new? Why not join Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre.
HFC supports three youth theatre groups for young people aged between 7 and 21 years: Juniors (aged between 7 and 11); Intermediates (aged between 11 and 14) and Seniors (15 plus).
Led by Artistic Director Simon Harvey, one of Cornwall's most respected performers and directors renowned for his work with Kneehigh Theatre and o-region, with support and guidance from trained and experienced practitioners, the groups meet every Saturday in Truro to develop their performance skills and have fun.
“We currently have more than 100 young people in the three groups and are keen to encourage others to come and join us” said Helen Tiplady, HFC’s Head of Arts Development. “As well as having a great time and meeting new people, the groups also have the opportunity to perform at national as well as local venues.”
In previous years members of HFC Youth Theatre have performed at the National Theatre as well as taking part in touring productions across Cornwall. Last year the Seniors group performed Nick Darke’s Hell’s Mouth on the HFC stage as part of the Nick Darke 70 celebrations – a production described as ‘Just about the best Youth Theatre show we’ve seen. Ever.’ by Urban Playground .
Josh Williams was just nine years old when he joined Hall For Cornwall’s Youth Theatre. Now aged 19 and still a member of the Seniors group, the talented young actor is applying for a place at drama school to help him achieve his dream of becoming a professional actor. He is clear that the support and encouragement he has received from HFC has played a big part in his success.
Over the past 10 years Josh has performed in a wide range of HFC productions, including Oliver Twist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Wizard of Oz, as well as in musical theatre shows put on by his local school. Aged just 15 Josh was awarded a place with the national British Youth Musical Theatre, leading to him receiving a Distinction in Grade 8 Musical Theatre Production for his performance with BYMT in Harvest Fire at the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen.
In 2016 Josh won a place at the prestigious National Youth Theatre – an achievement he firmly credits to the support he received from HFC. This led to being cast in NYT’s
production of The Fall at the Southwark Playhouse, and performances with HFC Youth at The National Theatre and in Nick Darke’s Hell’s Mouth.
“I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with such talented and enthusiastic teachers and directors” he said. “Hall For Cornwall has been a huge part of my life over the past 10 years. I have learnt so much and do not think I would be in this position without their help and support.”
One of the key aims of HFC Youth Theatre is to provide as many young people as possible with the opportunity to take part – they do not have to audition to gain a place and practitioners work hard to make the weekly sessions varied and fun, at the same time as teaching performing skills and techniques.
“What I love about Hall For Cornwall Youth Theatre is that it is really inclusive” said Talullah, a member of the Intermediate group. “Everyone is really different and the teachers try to make sure that everyone has a fair and equal part. It is fun but there are elements of hard work as well”.
For Charlie it is all about the thrill of performing. “The adrenalin rush when I get on stage is really why I do this … it is just brilliant when you first walk out on the stage and see the audience -there is just no feeling like it “ .
For Rory it is more about having the opportunity to be creative and make new friends. “It is a fantastic place to express yourself “ he said. “Every week you do something new – either an exercise or practicing a new technique. I have also met lots of new people who I am close friends with now and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without Hall For Cornwall. It is just brilliant “.
The new term begins this weekend with places available in the junior age group. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org . Keep your eyes peeled for information about new classes starting in 2019 – these include a brand new Musical Theatre Company, and All Boys Dance Classes!
Secondary Drama showcase tells stories of Women in Cornwall
Talented young actors from secondary schools across Cornwall joined together to tell the stories of Women in Cornwall at this year’s Cornwall Secondary Drama showcase held at AMATA Falmouth University.
The aim of the annual event, organised by Hall For Cornwall’s Arts Development team, is to celebrate the inspirational role of drama performance work in Cornish schools. This year nine schools took part in the showcase event, with each asked to perform a 10 minute devised piece using the theme of Women In Cornwall as their starting point. Also taking part were a group of senior members of Hall For Cornwall’s Youth Theatre.
“We know that the stories of women throughout history are under-represented in their telling” said Helen Tiplady, HFC’s Head of Arts Development. “We wanted to do something about this and asked schools to devise a piece of work which explored and presented the story of a woman in Cornwall.
“Schools were told their stories could be fact or fiction, historical or contemporary, famous, infamous or unknown stories of women from their own communities.”
Schools taking part on the first evening included Brannel School, whose comic piece Makin’ Waves, directed by Miss R Gomes and devised and performed by Year 10 Drama students, gave a voice to the brave mermaids of Cornwall.
Bodmin College performed Fishing, a piece written by Year 13 student Ellie Fullwood who was inspired by working with Cornish author, dramatist and dreamer Anna Maria Murphy on her Kneehigh Rambles project. Ellie also performed the piece with fellow student Matt McGuinness.
Anna Maria Murphy’s Kneehigh Rambles project was also the inspiration for the performance from the senior members of Hall For Cornwall’s Youth Theatre group.
Launceston College’s Year 10 drama students chose to feature female pirates in their piece. Women Can Be Pirates told the fictional story of the infamous Lady Killigrew and the actions she had to take to survive in a male dominated world.
Year 8 and 9 Drama students from Hayle Academy performed The Story of Mary Bryant, a Cornish woman who was convicted for robbery and sentenced to transportation to Australia. The piece, directed by Mrs C. Rule, with sound and lighting by Year 9 student Peter Taylor, told the true story of how Mary married fellow convict William Bryant and had two children before escaping the penal colony and returning to her family in Cornwall.
Performances on the second evening included Emily Hobhouse by Penryn College. Directed by Miss K Tellam and Miss C Mitchell and devised by Year 7-10 Drama Club, this piece told the little known story of Emily Hobhouse born near Liskeard, who was a British welfare campaigner for women and children who were victims of the Boar War in South Africa. She actively protested and fought against the British Government for the rights of defenceless lives of those living in Inhumane conditions.
Year 10 Drama GSCE students from Redruth School highlighted living histories and stories gathered from their local community in their piece titled” She Was a Remarkable Woman. Directed by Mrs H McGovern & Ms S Mottart, and based on students’ family histories, the performance focused on the stories of Pauline Nettle, Lady Godolphin, Amy Orchard and Beverley Matthews (Bevlyn Dance).
Level 2 & 3 Performing Arts Diploma students from Cornwall College St Austell chose to devise and perform a humorous piece giving advice to anyone planning on embarking on a courtship with a Cornish maid. One & All , directed by Mrs Lydia Day and Mrs Karen Burdon, offered a comedic look at what Cornish maids really, really want – definitely not for the faint hearted.
Cape Cornwall’s Year 7, 8 & 10 after school Drama club opted to reimagine the story of The Mermaid of Zennor as a ghost story. Directed by Miss L. Jack and Mrs. R Caird, the piece told the tale of a professor of antiquities who visited Zennor in search of the legend and was met with hostility. After diving further in to the depths of the legend, he found he got more than he bargained for…
Barbara Hepworth was the inspiration for St Ives School Youth Theatre, whose members offered a theatrical exploration of direct quotes from Barbara Hepworth and her critics, combined with opinions and accounts of local St Ives gossips.
“This drama showcase formed part of our Heritage Lottery Project and our commitment to telling Women’s stories. We are grateful for their support” said Helen Tiplady.
“We were thrilled by the huge variety of work presented by the young people over the two evenings of performance. It was one of the best drama showcases we have ever had and I would also like to thank Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, James Randall, Keith Jones, Liane Jose, Grace Clayton and all the teachers and students who worked so hard to tell the stories of the Women of Cornwall.”
Hall For Cornwall hands over keys to mark start of work on £20m redevelopment
As Hall For Cornwall formally handed over the keys to its building to mark the start of work on its exciting £20m redevelopment, 11 year old Maisie Crick summed up the feelings of people across Cornwall by telling the contractors Kier “Please look after our theatre”.
Maisie, who performed in the last Hall For Cornwall Christmas show, stole the hearts of guests with her heartfelt plea as she handed the keys to Chris Couch, Kier’s Area Manager for Cornwall, at the end of the special handover event. Accepting the keys, Chris Couch assured the youngster and assembled guests, including HFC Chair of Trustees Chris Pomfret; Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Economy, HFC supporters and staff, that he would take great care of the building during its two year transformation.
This was an evening led by young people as members of the HFC Youth Theatre and Youth dance groups gave a series of stunning mini performances as guests were taken on a tour of the theatre. As HFC staff outlined the background to the project, one young person read a poem he had written about the secrets contained within the walls of the theatre, while others performed a choreographed dance to mark the end of an extraordinary era, and delivered a short piece of theatre highlighting some of the key moments of the past 20 years.
Thanking people for their support, Chris Pomfret said that the evening had been a very emotional one as HFC staff locked the gates to the existing building for the last time ahead of the redevelopment and the keys were formally handed to the building team.
“This is a key milestone in our journey to create a world class venue which will provide Cornwall with access to the very best performing arts to rival anywhere in the country, as well as creating jobs and boosting the local economy” he said.
“As we look to raise the curtain on our future, it only seems fitting to celebrate the spirit of all the audiences, performers, directors, writers and technicians who have made the magic happen over the last 20 years”.
Cornwall Council has provided some of the funding for the £20m project and Bob Egerton said he was looking forward to seeing the transformed building in two years’ time. “This project has been a long time in development and I am delighted to be here to mark the formal start of the works. This is the start of a race, rather than a sprint, but I have no doubt that the wait will be worth it – not only for Truro but for the whole of Cornwall. “
As well as having a rare opportunity to see behind the main stage, guests also visited the former Flourish café next door which will be brought back into the main building as part of the redevelopment. The space, which was previously the site of a police station, complete with cells, a fire station and a bank with the sturdy vault door still in place, will become a general hosting area in the new building.
Other highlights included a special performance by The Suitcase Singers of three songs commissioned by Hall For Cornwall to celebrate the achievements of three famous Cornish women. These included “Jenny Mopus”, a song which tells the true story of Jenny Davies, an 18th century ferrywoman who ferried people from the Roseland Peninsula to Truro and whose portrait hangs in the Royal Cornwall Museum; famous Cornish rower Anne Glanville, who famously led a team of female rowers who beat teams of male rowers from Cornwall
before repeating their achievement in France; and a song about Dolly Portreath, reported to be the last native Cornish speaker.
Once construction formally begins, HFC will work alongside Kier to organise a series of hard hat tours, open days and events which will encourage people from across Cornwall to visit Truro to see the progress of the redevelopment and enjoy other amenities offered by the city. Details of these dates, alongside information on how to book, will be released on Hall For Cornwall’s website.
HFC has worked closely with Truro BID, Kier and local businesses to create visuals for the hoardings surrounding the construction site which will act as a central focus of interest for the public by telling the story of the redevelopment alongside celebrating the building and Truro’s history and heritage visually. Local businesses in the immediate vicinity will be supported by the inclusion of orientation and ‘open for business’ messaging, as well as inclusion of a large Visit Truro map of the city for use by locals and visitors alike.
Research from other parts of the country which have carried out similar projects suggests that the refurbishment will deliver long lasting benefits to both Truro and the wider Cornish economy.
The completion of the project will provide capacity for an extra 300 seats in the new auditorium, attracting the very best productions to Cornwall. Whilst more people will be able to attend, the space will also offer greater flexibility of use for more intimate and experimental performances.
Plans are also being developed to increase the number of tourists visiting Truro by highlighting the history and heritage of the HFC building and the important role it plays within the City. A Heritage Lottery Funded project will include a series of heritage interpretation activities and events that will drive the daytime economy. The project also includes the development of a new ERDF & LEP funded creative business hub which will provide office and meeting spaces expected to attract up to 40 new small and medium sized creative businesses, generating around £15m for the local economy.
An economic impact study carried out by Oxford Economics concludes that the redevelopment of Hall For Cornwall will add £35.6 million to the Cornish economy by 2025/26 and create 165 jobs a year after it re-opens in 2020. This is in addition to the impact of the construction works which are predicted to contribute £7.8m to the local economy and create 106 jobs over the life of the project.
Although 90% of the £19.8m re-build target has been raised, HFC needs to raise a further £1.8m to turn its aspirations for a new theatre into reality. Over the coming months the organisation will be launching a series of initiatives for people to get involved and support the project. Details of these will be provided as they are confirmed.
HFC Youth Dance member wins coveted place at National Youth Dance Company
22 August 2018
Hall For Cornwall is celebrating the news that one of the members of HFC Youth Dance has been awarded a place at the National Youth Dance Company.
Hundreds of young dancers from across the country auditioned for just 30 available places at the prestigious national company so being offered a place is an amazing achievement for 17year old Ned Ratcliffe. Members of the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) have the opportunity to work with nationally acclaimed choreographers and perform at leading dance venues before taking part in a final performance at the world famous Sadler’s Wells Theatre in July.
Ned, who lives near Helston, has been a member of HFC Youth Dance since the age of 11 and Head of Arts Development Helen Tiplady is thrilled at his success.
“I am so happy for Ned! He takes part in the full range of wonderful opportunities that are offered to him here in Cornwall, he’s part of loads of groups, All Boys Dance led by Rob Mennear, HFC Youth and Propeller, as well as listening to all his dance teachers at Truro College. We’ve had lots of talented dancers apply to be part of NYDC in the past and I am really chuffed that this year the choreographer has seen what he wanted in Ned.”
Dame Rosemary Squire, DBE, Joint Chair of the Board of the Hall For Cornwall Trust, added. “We are so proud of this young male dancer’s achievements and how hard he is working to realise his dream. It’s brilliant exposure to the industry and we are delighted for him – we can’t wait to see the finished piece. “
Currently studying for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Dance at Truro College (equivalent to three A Levels) Ned now faces a busy 12 months juggling his college course with working with NYDC during half terms and holidays.
As the longest standing member of HFC Youth Dance, Ned will continue to attend the fortnightly Sunday sessions as well as working with Propeller Dance, a weekly dance training programme which focuses on technical skills led by Dance Republic 2, but fitting all this in with his other interests of music (he plays the double bass), surf life saving and sailing might prove a little too much – even for Ned!. He is also a talented actor and is a former member of the HFC Youth Theatre Company.
Not that Ned is at all worried – the 17 year old is looking forward to working with acclaimed choreographer Botis Seva, who is leading this year’s NYDC programme, and is confident that winning a coveted NYDC place will act as spring board to a career in contemporary dance.
“I was very excited when I heard that I had been given a place” he said. “Having applied to NYDC for the second time (I did not get in last year) my first audition took place at AMATA in Falmouth University when I applied to take part in an “experience workshop’ session with other young hopefuls. Four weeks later I was in London at the recall auditioning with 75 other dancers in front of Botis. “
Ned then had a stressful four week wait before receiving a phone call to say he had been awarded a place. “We were out when they first called and so I had to call them back to find out if I had been successful. It was great to be told I had a place – although there was so much cheering from the rest of the family I could hardly hear what the woman was saying.
Ned comes from a very talented and artistic family – Mum Melanie is a visual artist and 22 year old brother Gil has just completed an MA in Contemporary Dance at the Northern School, after receiving his first degree in Contemporary Dance from Trinity Laban. Gil was also a member of HFC Youth Dance and the whole family is full of praise for the support and encouragement the brothers have received, both from HFC and from other dance companies in Cornwall.
“When we first moved to Cornwall, Gil was just seven and there were almost no opportunities for boys to take part in dance “ said Melanie. “Gil was a very energetic child, always on the go, and so I was desperately trying to find things for him to do. I stumbled across an amazing dance company called “Tavaziva” , which was holding a workshop in Cornwall.
“Led by artistic director Bawren from Zimbawe , the workshop combined Contemporary and South African dance. I took Gil, then aged 8, .to the workshop and although Gil had never danced before, the director told me he had talent and said I needed to find somewhere in Cornwall for him to dance. Luckily I found Helen and Cornwall Youth Dance Company, later to become HFC Youth Dance and the rest, as they say is history. “
Years later Ned also attended one of Tavaziva’s workshop sessions – an experience he describes as one of the best things he has done in his life and which was a key factor in him choosing a career in dance rather than the theatre.
Melanie later discovered that Gil’s high levels of energy were a symptom of Tourette Syndrome, a neurological condition which causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics. Ned also shares the same condition and Melanie says that this has been a key factor in the importance of dance in both their lives.
So what next for Ned?
“I want to be a dancer” he says simply. His immediate ambition is to secure a place at one of the country’s three leading conservatoires (Trinity Laban, The Place, or The Northern School) to study contemporary dance and then to see what happens.
But whatever the future holds both Ned and Gil and their parents are immensely grateful for the support and encouragement they have received from Hall For Cornwall and the wider dance sector.
“We can’t thank Helen and HFC Youth Dance enough for helping us on the journey to achieving our dreams “.
HFC Youth Dance are auditioning for new recruits to the company on the 16th Sept - check HFC website for more details and call HFC box office to book a place!
Keeping Truro’s Town clock ticking
20 August 2018
Although Hall For Cornwall is now closed to the public, staff from the theatre are visiting the build-ing three times a week to wind the historic clock which has marked the passage of time with its chimes in the city for more than 100 years.
The current clock is a replacement for the one destroyed in November 1914 when a major fire swept through the municipal buildings, causing the clock tower to fall through the roof of the Council Chamber. Newspaper reports at the time suggest that the fire began in the clock tower, spreading quickly though the wooden structure and destroying the Council Chamber, committee room, muni-ment room and roof of the building, as well as the original clock which had been erected more than half a century earlier.
Although the furniture in the Council Chamber and many of the corridors and stairs were scorched by the fire and suffered water damage, most of the valuable paintings and portraits were saved, to-gether with the Mayoral robes and chain.
Following the fire, the wooden structure of the clock tower was replaced with a three storey building of steel and concrete, while retaining the granite façade. The clock itself was made to the design of Lord Grimthorpe, who designed Big Ben; with the four bells cast by John Taylor and Sons, a Loughborough based company who hung the Truro Cathedral bells, as well as casting the 17 tonne Great Paul, the largest bell in the country at that time.
Following the formal presentation of the new clock to the citizens of Truro in October 1915, it has remained in place keeping perfect time apart from a short period in the 1970’s when it was taken away to be refurbished while repairs were carried out to the clock tower.
Up to the closure of Hall For Cornwall at the beginning of June this year, winding the clock has been the responsibility of Alan Cocking, Truro City Council’s building facilitator. As well as winding the clock every day, including on bank holidays and during Christmas, during the past 12 years, Alan also had to manually adjust the clock twice a year to co incide with the start and end of British summertime.
“Putting the clock back involved stopping the entire clock mechanism for an hour” explained Alan. “The alternative would have meant winding through 23 hours. Putting the clock forward involved ad-justing a lever to make the clock run faster – this was much easier and only took about 10 minutes”.
Despite spending 12 years carefully winding the clock, maintenance and servicing had to be carried out by a specialist company – “I was only allowed to dust it every now and then” joked Alan. He is very proud that during all those 12 years the clock has never been out by more than 5 seconds, possibly because of the preciseness of the manually controlled mechanism. By contrast the chimes of the Cathedral clock, which has an electric mechanism and is serviced by the same company, can often be out by more than a few seconds.
The task of winding the clock has now fallen to four members of the Hall For Cornwall staff who take it in turns to visit the clock tower three times a week. The actual winding process involves turn-ing a series of handles which pull weights attached to cords and pulleys up from the second to the third floor of the tower – an incredibly physical task which can require two people to carry out. Once fully wound, the weights take around 72 hours to return back to their base when the whole process has to be repeated.
“We have all really enjoyed our clock winding duties” said Catherine Richards, one of HFC’s clock winding team. “Up in the rafters of the City Hall, you get to see the cathedral and streets of Truro from a completely different viewpoint. The clock itself is such an intricate and beautiful piece of machinery and it is amazing to think that it has been reliably ticking up in the tower for over a century.
“We take our winding responsibilities very seriously, to ensure that the clock keeps accurate time for the people of Truro, it really is a privilege to be part of the city’s living history.”
Three pianos, theatre props and a dance floor!
What do three pianos, armfuls of costumes and theatre props and a dance floor have in common?
The answer: they are all pieces of equipment loaned or donated to local organisations by Hall For Cornwall while the theatre is closed for its £19.8 million redevelopment project.
The theatre officially closed its doors to the public on 2 June following a spectacular last night performance by local band The People’s String Foundation. Since then HFC staff have been busy packing furnishings and technical equipment to go into storage so the keys can be formerly handed over to the contractor.
While a series of yard sales were held to give local businesses and the public the chance to buy items such as desks, theatre seats, crockery and stationery, HFC has also donated equipment to Cornwall based groups and organisations, including local theatre companies, churches and a secondary school.
“The closure of the theatre for our redevelopment project meant that we needed to find temporary homes for some of our equipment, including our pianos” said HFC Chief Executive and Creative Director Julien Boast. “I am delighted that we have been able to find homes for three instruments here in Cornwall and I am sure that their temporary owners will make good use of them”.
HFC’s Steinway piano has been loaned to St Mary’s Church in Penzance, part of the Penlee Cluster of churches in West Cornwall.
Although the Grade II* listed parish church is renowned for the quality of its traditional church music and plays host to a wide range of musical events throughout the year, its existing grand piano was not of sufficient quality to attract top pianists to play at the church. Determined to change this Musical Director Nigel Wicken worked with Tim Dean, former Head of Opera at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, who had recently moved to Penzance to live, and technical wizard and church member Chris Doggett, to persuade HFC to loan them its Steinway.
The persuasion proved successful and the piano, which arrived at the church at the end of June, has already been in use at concerts during both the Golowan and Penzance Lit festivals, and at a number of lunchtime and evening concerts.
“We are incredibly grateful to Hall For Cornwall for the temporary use of their Steinway” said Tim Dean. “We are looking at how to use it to attract even more diverse audiences to the church to a wide range of events over the next two years, and develop the church even further as a real focus for community'
A Yamaha upright Disklavier piano (which allows pianists to record and then play back their work) has been loaned to Mounts Bay Academy. Head of Music and Director of Performing Arts Claire Brown is delighted to have been entrusted with the instrument which, she says, will be used for performances on the school’s new permanent stage.
“We are thrilled Hall For Cornwall chose Mounts Bay Academy to provide a temporary home for one of their pianos” said Claire Brown. “As part of the expansion of the Performing Arts department, we are creating a new practice room and a new permanent stage. The piano will have pride of place on the new stage and will be used for performances by our most talented musicians.”
A Yamaha upright piano has also been loaned to St Ia, the parish church of St Ives. The church is thrilled with its new instrument and has lost no time in putting it to good use with a number of concerts already taking place since its arrival four weeks ago.
Another slightly more unusual piece of equipment which has found a new temporary home is HFC’s dance floor which is being looked after by James Wilton. James, one of the UK’s leading choreographers, is an HFC associate artist who has performed on the stage on numerous occasions with members of his company – James Wilton Dance.
Renowned for creating breathtakingly physical choreography, James has toured extensively both in the UK and internationally to critical acclaim, winning numerous awards along the way. The company are currently in rehearsals for their forthcoming production The Storm and James is very grateful to HFC for the loan of the dance floor.
“We will be using the floor for both rehearsals and performances” he said. “The space we are rehearsing in this summer doesn't have a floor so we are using it to rehearse for our ne workThe Storm and will then will be using it for our rural touring activities over the coming year.”.
No theatre production would be complete without costumes and props and a selection used by Hall For Cornwall’s resident companies have been donated to local drama groups.
HFC’s exciting and ambitious project to transform the interior of its Grade II* listed building into a modern cutting- edge venue is now moving into its construction phase. Once the site has been fully prepared and hoardings are in place, demolition will begin.
HFC is working closely with Cornwall Council, Truro BID, Truro City Council and its contractor to keep local people informed about the progress of the project and support businesses during the closure period.
Information is being provided through monthly newsletters and on the HFC website - hallforcornwall.co.uk – as well as via HFC’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. There will also be open days and hard hat tours of the works to enable people to come in and see how things are going as well as a community roadshow tour of events and locations throughout Cornwall.
Although 90% of the £19.8m re-build target has been raised, the partners need to raise a further £1.8m to turn their aspirations for a new theatre a reality. Over the coming months HFC will be launching a series of initiatives for people to get involved and support the project. Details of these will be provided as they are confirmed.