Celebrating Yorkshire Day in style, The Piece Hall reopened on 1 August to the sound of a bell rung by Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft MBE. Dating back to 1779, the unique Grade I listed Georgian cloth hall is the only remaining building of its kind in the country and, following a £19 million redevelopment, it has now reopened as a cultural and heritage destination alongside independent bars, shops and cafés. One of the main supporters of the restoration is the Heritage Lottery Fund which awarded £7 million of National Lottery income.
As part of the launch, The Piece Hall is hosting Welcome a free festival-style celebration of culture funded by the Arts Council through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme with an award of £85,000. Highlights include Architects of Air’s Albesila, a giant extraordinary inflated sculpture in which visitors are invited to immerse themselves in a vivid world of colour, and a magical high-flying aerial spectacle, Enchanted Chandelier, by award-winning French company, Transe Express.
Another of the projects, Landlines and Watermarks (29 September-1 October), supported through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme with an award of £145,000, tells the story of a place and a people shaped by water. A creative response to the devastating floods that swept through the Calder Valley in December 2015, it explores resilience, response and recovery and includes Calderdale: A People’s Opera.
The Arts Council wants audiences to be able to enjoy and take part in cultural activities close to home. We recently awarded £150,000 in Cultural Destinations funding to the Halifax Culture Hub which will work with Visit Calderdale to develop new, ambitious and diverse cultural experiences for visitors and communities alike.
Pete Massey, Director North, Arts Council England said
Arts Council England is incredibly excited about the cultural renaissance that is currently happening in Halifax.
Next door to Piece Hall, Square Chapel’s £6.6 million capital redevelopment has also just opened. The arts centre has been transformed by the creation of a new extension and improved facilities including a new multi-purpose auditorium and boasts a newly commissioned piece of glass art created by architectural glass artist Sarah Galloway. The Arts Council supported this development with an award of £3,953,500 through our Capital programme.
Pete Massey, Director North, Arts Council England commented “Arts Council England is incredibly excited about the cultural renaissance that is currently happening in Halifax. Calderdale Council and its partners have shown exceptional vision in their plans for how culture, the arts and heritage can combine to make a world class cultural destination that will shape the way Halifax is thought about for generations to come. It will make Halifax a better place to live and a more attractive place to visit, and we are very proud to have supported Square Chapel in their capital aspirations and the Piece Hall Trust in their ambition to put the arts at the heart of the refurbished Piece Hall.”
Three of our National portfolio organisations are based in Halifax – Square Chapel, Northern Broadsides and IOU Theatre – and we recently announced that they will continue to be funded through this programme until 2022.
Halifax’s new Central Library and Archive, incorporating the Grade II listed Square Church spire, will open adjacent to The Piece Hall later this year completing the construction projects transforming this part of the town.