Director's Update: Reflecting on the last 12 months since closure

12 July 2019

We are now just over a year into our redevelopment plans, with the clearance and stripping out complete, the roof raised and the steel framework going up to support our new three-tiered auditorium. Around 200 tonnes of steel will be needed overall for the roof, balconies and floor structures. The next phase will see us digging down into the ground to create the plenum for the new auditorium heating and ventilation system, and then building up to create the new auditorium floor.

We managed to reveal the early stages of the transformation to the public in March and welcomed nearly 2,000 people in just four hours from Penzance to Plymouth to our Open Day. It was a real delight to open our home to so many - albeit with hard hats on! We had a lovely legacy film made of the day by talented students from Falmouth University, so do take a look online using this link if you were unable to join us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgGL5abcKpU  We’ll be announcing another moment to explore the building this autumn and hope as many of you can join before we close the building for the final phases of construction and fit out.

Jethro Compton, Associate Artist of Hall for Cornwall has had an incredibly successful summer with his critically acclaimed new production based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – which played at London’s Southwark Playhouse. With HFC support in the project’s early stages, Jethro has created a truly intimate and Cornish perspective on this incredible story, a sleepy fishing harbour at the end of the First World War - home to a most curious story of one man, and the timeless tale of a love that defies all odds. We’re thrilled that Jethro’s career continues to go from strength to strength and we’re continuing to support him with introductions to producers and venues who are keen that this fabulous production has a longer life within the West End and beyond.

We were delighted that our Youth Theatre Company were chosen to perform at the National Theatre as part of this year’s recent National Theatre Connections Festival. Connections is the largest youth theatre festival in the UK which celebrates new writing for young people aged 13-19. Ten new plays by both established and emerging contemporary playwrights were exclusively commissioned for young people to stage and perform at this year’s Festival. As one of only ten groups selected from 273 companies and 6,500 young people across the UK to perform on the National's stage, we are proud to be able to support the next generation of Cornwall's young people in showcasing their acting, movement and musical talents within such a prestigious festival.

With thanks to funding from amongst others, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and the Chartered Accountants Livery during closure, we have been able to adapt and widen the reach of our youth work in the community whilst closed. This month, we have worked in partnership with Illogan School, with a creative writing and live performance piece involving the whole school to include dance, drama and music. The script has been collaboratively devised utilising writing, reading and performance skills, supporting pupils and teachers with their work in developing literacy and social development.  As the headteacher comments, “The children do not currently have a high-quality drama input nor have they ever pulled together in an inclusive production with professional teams and experienced the thrill and pride of performing for a wider audience. The Hall For Cornwall project is a much-needed unifying force for the entire community”.

In May, our corporate supporters raised just over £5,000 for our transformation redevelopment with an early morning Fun-Run at the Eden Project, including team HFC and our Youth Dancers with the 5k team challenge. Later this year in September, you’ll be able to play a part and make a mark on our transformation as we launch our Name A Seat campaign with all support acknowledged through dedicated plaques on seats in our new state of the art auditorium. We have a very special ambassador fronting and supporting the campaign, so watch this space!

It’s been a busy and rewarding 12 months and we are so looking forward to what the next 12 months will bring. As always, we thank you for your continued support.