What a month it’s been since I last wrote to you. We’ve been mentioned in the House of Commons, delivered our youth sessions online and have seen phenomenal progress on our construction site. Whilst the easing of lockdown restrictions bring welcome relief, for many there is still uncertainty ahead and I hope you all continue to keep safe and well.
We may be closed, but our small team on the ground are as busy as ever. Last month, we supported several local performers and freelancers in submitting successful emergency funding applications to a range of funders, including Arts Council England. We’ve hosted an online drama conference for 19 drama and performing arts teachers across Cornwall, and have continued online sessions with our youth dance and theatre groups. Many of our young people have shared their experiences and difficulties during lockdown in our weekly blog (do read their stories here) and we’re pleased to be able to offer them and their families, a space online to support their creativity and well-being.
We are grateful to hear the recent news that HM Treasury has pledged significant investment to support theatres, museums and galleries. Our industry has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19 and, alongside friends and colleagues across the UK and overseas, we're passionate about its survival.
Like many major construction sites across the country, work on our transformation project has been affected by government restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of the coronavirus which pushed back our reopening to next year. This extension of time to our project has, inevitably, brought additional costs and, whilst we wait to see how this vital lifeline to support our industry will be distributed, the whole team are working hard behind the scenes to ensure our project can be successfully delivered in as timely and cost effective way as possible.
Whilst the pandemic has brought an unexpected turn of events, as it has for us all, there is opportunity for us to take some time to reflect and plan for when we do reopen our doors and welcome you all back next year.
We have no past experience to draw upon for a situation like this and thus, recently, partnered with UK Theatre to hear your views on the current situation and attending live events again at some point in the future. Thanks to all of you who took the the time to fill out our survey. I’ve read all of your responses which will inform our future planning, as well as being added to responses from all over the UK to inform a national picture.
Despite current challenges, it’s an exciting time to be on site. Do come inside and take a quick look around by clicking here to watch our new film, narrated by BBC Radio 3 presenter and Cornishman Petroc Trelawny, and featuring recent footage of the works inside the theatre.
As you will see from the film and the picture above, our theatre is changing in front of our eyes and our new auditorium is taking shape. On the new balcony and circle levels, the scaffolding has been removed before the oak floor is laid and the carpenters start constructing the tiers for the seating. Behind the scenes, final choices are being made for the finishes – from the seating fabric to the wood stain, bar designs to paint colours. We’ve even sat in one of the new auditorium seats and we’ll be sharing pictures with you soon! We can’t wait to show you the results – we’re as impatient as you are to fling open our doors and welcome you all in.
As always, we remain humbled by your kind messages of support and once again thank those who are championing our charity and the arts by naming a seat in our brand new auditorium. If you or your friends are able to invest in our future at this time, please visit our website, or see below for further information on how you can purchase a seat dedication in our new auditorium.
So many of you worked hard to open our doors in 1997 and we’ve continued to serve and support our community. We’re proud of the audience we’ve grown, the connections we’ve built, the talent we’ve developed and the scope of work we’ve created and brought into Cornwall – for everyone to enjoy. As our local MP for Falmouth and Truro stated in the House of Commons last week, ‘Hall For Cornwall is a fantastic theatre on the brink of completion, serving the whole of Cornwall and acting as a beacon for the arts for the whole county’.
I can assure you that together we WILL make our theatre a place our county truly deserves where everyone – regardless of background, interest or experience – can come together and dream big again.
Take care, stay safe and see you soon.