Architecture Historic Building Projects

We’re Raising the Roof in 2019…

We’re Raising the Roof in 2019…

As we look towards 2019 and celebrating our 21st year with an exciting transformation, it seems a good time to reflect back on some highlights of the last 6 months and key achievements since the closure of our building in June.

The first few weeks saw HFC staff packing up furnishings and technical equipment to go into storage so the keys could be formally handed over to Kier. We loaned or relocated some of our equipment to the community; our treasured Steinway piano found sanctuary at St Mary’s Church in Penzance, some of the rehearsal flooring is being used by associate dance company James Wilton and original auditorium seating is being used across Cornwall.

The formal handing over of the keys by one of our young HFC performers to contractors Kier at the end of September, marked a key milestone in our redevelopment. Next came 21st birthday celebrations in November, a coming of age celebration that toasted the future with unique performances from our Youth Theatre & Dance Groups.

The Arts Development team remain busy in the community supporting schools, resident companies and associate artists. A co-production with o-region and Palores Productions in November brought new audiences to the historic miners’ chapel in St Just; artist led projects were supported via our flagship programme Creation Space, including digital sound artist Justin Wiggan and Prodigal UPG, a parkour performance company.

Autumn also saw us piloting a Stage to Screen season with an exclusive partnership with Truro Plaza Cinema which brought leading West End theatre practitioners in person to Truro. Award-winning director Michael Grandage discussed his Tony Award-winning play RED ahead of its screening and leading West End Executive producer and General Manager, Jo Benjamin, shared bringing The King and I to the London Palladium and gave sound theatre career advice to the school children in the audience.

We continue to champion our young people, with weekly Youth Theatre and Dance companies. This year, they have participated in projects across the county and beyond; from participation in Danny Boyle’s national event Pages of the Sea marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, to a unique performance at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. Congratulations to 17-year-old Ned Ratcliffe, a member of our HFC Youth Dance since aged 9, who has recently been awarded a place at the National Youth Dance Company. One of the growing numbers of HFC alumni gaining places at nationally renowned dance and drama schools.

So what of our redevelopment?

Those of you who follow our social media updates will have seen dramatic changes inside the building. Our time lapse cameras are capturing it all. This first phase has been all about demolition. Kier have stripped the interior of the auditorium, removing the seating, the lighting rigs and the balconies.  Other works include removing the fixtures and fittings in the bar area, the dressing rooms, the Boscawen foyer and Back Quay. This has resulted in some great finds – including the discovery of beautiful original Cornish stonework along the back wall behind the ‘long bar’ area.

Kier are working carefully to protect the original granite columns, steps and floors from the impact of the building works and are recycling as much of the material as possible.  Speaking of recycled materials….at the end of last year Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum offered us wood from a replica Bronze Age boat built five years ago using traditional tools. We were delighted to accept and some of the Cornish oak planks will now have a new lease of life in our new building.

Redevelopment is now moving into the construction phase. Our new three-tiered auditorium will have 300 extra seats, allowing for larger scale shows to be premiered for the first time in Cornwall. To achieve this we need to – quite literally – raise the roof, elevating it by 2.5 metres to accommodate an extra tier of seating. Kier are currently constructing a temporary weather proof roof to enable the current roof to be removed so new columns, rafters and supporting beams can be erected to increase the height.  The roof will then be replaced.

2019 looks set to be a very busy year as we prepare for the opening of our new theatre.  The project remains on schedule to reopen Autumn 2020 and we are currently working on putting together our first season together to welcome people back to our new home.

As I watch the progress of our redevelopment and the biggest transformation in our history – I am truly excited that the future will allow us to open up the power of performance to more people than ever and give Cornwall the new theatre it deserves. We’re creating a new kind of public space in the heart of our county; a place where all are welcome, where everyone can see the work they crave, where Cornwall’s creative talent can break new ground and where our next generation can be supported. It’s going to be an exciting new year.


Events Music Projects Workshops & Masterclasses

219 youngsters explore amazing Tin Forest at Illogan School

Illogan School was transformed into an amazing Tin Forest with exotic trees and flowers, tree frogs, toucans and tigers– thanks to a partnership between the school and Hall For Cornwall.A chance meeting between Headteacher Jo Knuckey and HFC’s Arts Development Director Helen Tiplady led to all 219 pupils being involved in a very special play with a strong
environmental message based on author Helen Ward’s bestselling children’s book The Tin
Forest.The book tells the story of an old man living in a small house in the middle of nowhere
surrounded by mountains of rubbish thrown away by people who can’t be bothered to recycle. At night, he dreams of a place with brightly coloured flowers, birds and animals. Waking one morning he decides to create a forest of metal trees and plants from the rubbish lying all around him. This is then transformed into a beautiful place with real trees, flowers and
animals following an initial visit from a toucan that drops seeds from its beak onto the ground.“Earlier this year the children took part in a single-use plastic free day which really captured their imaginations and got them thinking about waste and the importance of recycling “ said Jo Knuckey. I wanted to build on this enthusiasm and so decided to use an environmental theme for our end of term performance. The clear message contained in this book made it a perfect choice”.

This is Jo’s first year as Headteacher and she wanted to ensure that all the pupils had the
opportunity to be involved in the end of year performance. “With more than 200 children in the school this was an ambitious aim and I was delighted when I met Helen and she agreed to come on board with some of the HFC staff to help us pull it all

“The result has been an incredible experience which has supported staff to create our first ever whole school performance piece and has brought out the confidence of the children, some of whom were nervous at the beginning but were loving every minute by the time of the first performance. “

“This project has given the children of Illogan school memories that will last a life-time”.

As well as running a number of youth companies for young actors and dancers, Hall For
Cornwall’s Arts Development team also work with schools and community groups on a range of amazing dance and drama projects.

Arts Development Director Helen Tiplady leapt at the opportunity to work with an entire school and, with financial support from the Chartered Accountants’ Livery Charity, worked with colleagues Kim Healy, Sean Sweeney, Richard Healey and Simon Harvey, artists
Alessandra Ausenda, Amanda Lorens and Keith Sparrow and enthusiastic staff and pupils from Illogan School to bring the book to life. Also helping out was Myah Smith, a Year 10 student from Launceston College who was on a work experience placement with Hall For Cornwall.

Waste company Biffa and parents provided the school with a selection of waste materials to create their imaginary Tin Forest, with making company In the Bellows, which provided
puppets for the recent successful London production of Benjamin Button, creating a puppet of the Old Man character .

Following five days of writing scripts, learning lines, composing special music and intensive rehearsals, and many hours spent creating props and covering walls with tin foil and old
newspapers from the Scrapstore, the cast proudly performed their special play in front of an enthralled audience of over 300 people from the local community.

Described as a promenade piece, the play saw the cast walk the audience through the whole school building – from the mock rubbish dump at the entrance where children carelessly threw rubbish on the ground; through the main hall transformed into a forest with tin foil, to the four classroom installations depicting the rubbish room, the recycling machine, the sifting and
sorting room and the dream room, back to the main hall – the “heart” where the tin forest is transformed into a real forest with colourful trees, flowers and animals and then outside to the old Man’s house which was set in the beautiful meadow at Illogan School.

“This has been a fantastic project to work on “said Helen Tiplady. “From the Year 5
pupils who wrote the script and the Year 6 pupils who acted as narrators, to the
children who brought the story to life with their energy and enthusiasm and the teaching staff who helped make the props – everyone has worked so hard at the same time as having fun“.

One of the youngsters involved in the production was Year 5 pupil Cadan who had speaking parts as well as writing one of the music tracks played in one of the classroom installations. Speaking before the first performance he admitted he was feeling a little nervous but was very excited about his Mum and Dad watching him perform. “I have felt a bit of pressure” he said “but am really looking forward to taking part”.

Audience members were full of praise for the performance of all the children taking part and welcomed the play’s strong environmental message.

Gabriel Chavigny de Lachevrotiere, the proud Dad of Year 6 pupil Sophia, said “I am very proud of Sophia and all the children who have taken part. It is great to see the whole school get involved. It is also good that the younger generation are being
taught about pollution, global warming and climate in this way. If our generation had been taught these messages then we would not be in the position we are in

Laura Buffery -Martin, mum of Year 1 pupil Rufus also thoroughly enjoyed the performance. “I was blown away “she said. “The whole thing was amazing and I felt very
emotional “.

Helen Tiplady is delighted with the success of the Illogan School project and is looking
forward to working with other schools across Cornwall to help them deliver immersive work which supports their curriculum development.

“Research shows that creative arts play an important role in helping children
express themselves and develop their confidence, “she said. “They can also help schools deliver key areas of the curriculum by bringing complex subjects to life in a way which interests and engages pupils.”

For further information about the work of Hall For Cornwall’s Arts Development team please contact [email protected]


Associate Artists Projects

Join the Art Revolution with Open Online Theatre

Join the Art Revolution with Open Online Theatre

The latest project from IJAD Dance Company, Open Online Theatre (OOT) is a new way of creating performance art. It’s an online space where audiences can interact with artists to create performances together, no matter where they all are in the world.

In the past, performance can be and has been exclusive – existing in one place at one time with ideas developed by a small amount of people. But IJAD want performance to be inclusive – social media is everywhere, always on, created and enjoyed by everybody. OOT utilises this, allowing artists to interact with audiences and share performances with thousands of people around the world who will engage with it in real time.

The project is also interested in how social media can influence and feed a performance, so invites audiences to interact from the comfort of their own home or even on the go. In this vein, the website will also live stream rehearsal procceses and will encourage interaction both during and and after each session, either by using #OOTMakers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or by commenting on the Open Online Theatre website itself.

Hall For Cornwall is delighted to be collaborating with IJAD Dance Company in their exciting development of this new online platform and it’s dedication to open dialogue and co-creation between artists and audiences. HFC Associate Artist, Rob Mennear, is one of the makers who is currently using the platform to rehearse for new piece, BLINK, which will be live streamed on Tuesday 21 Nov as part of a wider performance showcasing work from across the globe.

Take a look at what Rob and the other makers have been up to so far and interact with him and the other makers here.


Creation Space: from a spark to a flame

Creation Space: from a spark to a flame

The development programmes that we have put in to place at Hall For Cornwall are a direct result of our extensive 1:1 conversations with practitioners across the sector. We work with artists ‘pre-emergence’ through to established mid-career artists and with high quality national partners. We are always working to an extent with unknowns, we don’t know whether work will be funded, we don’t know what will happen during the process of creation, we don’t know who will see it, or how it will be received. What we do know is that we are fortunate to be rich in creativity – I listen to people talking about their ideas day in day out. I am witness to the spark of new ideas that have the potential to grow in to exciting new work. It’s tremendously exciting and I am extremely privileged to be part of these conversations.

Through these 1:1 meetings we discovered that one of the significant practical hurdles within the creative process is how to explore that spark of an idea and to be paid to do that, after all that is the artists job! At Hall For Cornwall we invented Creation Space to kindle that flame within the creative process. An opportunity for artists to collaborate and innovate, we view Creation Space as an investment in professional development that can have an impact on an artists’ practice that reverberates for some time to come.

We use our Creation Space investment to hold space and time for artists to explore and experiment for a week, to invite others to participate in their process and to share their progress at the end of this period of time. The sharing is not intended to be performative necessarily – the process is the focus and if the outcome is that the work will not go forward in this form then that’s fine too. It would be rare for artists to share a space for a week and not to learn anything at all about their own practice that can impact their work going forward.

During the pilot year of Creation Space, we worked with our colleagues at other arts organisations in Cornwall to select six proposals from the field of applications that we felt met our criteria – they were innovative, collaborative and developmental, the combinations of artists and the ideas they wanted to explore throughout the process excited us.