Work on the orchestra’s flagship venue in Ancoats will finish next autumn
While many of the Hallé’s performances take place in Bridgewater Hall, most of the hard work takes place in Ancoats - at Hallé St Peter’s and Hallé at St Michael’s. Not only are these two venues home to rehearsals and recordings, they also host choirs and a youth orchestra; as well as education workshops, small performances, community events and even weddings and conferences.
Now, Hallé St Peter’s is to undergo an ambitious £4.3m extension; improving facilities for choirs, community and orchestra alike. Sponsored by Arts Council England - as well as several foundations, trusts and Hallé Patrons - the fifteen-month project began with a ground-breaking ceremony last Friday, and is expected to complete by autumn 2019.
Plans for the new three-storey building, called The Oglesby Centre, include: a new façade overlooking Cutting Room Square, café and kitchen, large new rehearsal space, education workshop facilities and individual practice spaces. It will be designed by Stephenson Studio architects, with MACE working as project manager and contract administrator for the Hallé Concerts Society.
The extension commenced just as Manchester City Council launched a new award series last week, recognising the city's growing international cultural reputation: in 2016/17, Manchester's cultural organisations generated an estimated £134.2 million in GVA (MCC Cultural Impact Survey 2016/17). Awarding the best cultural achievements held between April 2017 and 2018, the inaugural ceremony will place in November and include twelve categories; including Best Event, Young Creative of the Year, and Promotion of Health and Wellbeing. Nominations are open until 22 July.
Meanwhile, Dave Moutrey - CEO of HOME - has been appointed Director of Culture for Manchester, a new advisory position that will see him further develop culture in the city and encourage new audiences. With the creative industries generating an estimated £92bn a year into the UK economy, no wonder Manchester is taking the arts seriously.
History of the Hallé
Founded in 1858 and named for its founder Sir Charles Hallé, the Manchester institution spent most of its former years at the Free Trade Hall, until the building was bombed in the Manchester Blitz.
Wartime, then, saw the orchestra perform concerts citywide in the likes of Albert Hall, Kings Hall at Belle Vue and a variety of cinemas (not to mention RAF bases) before it returned to a rebuilt Free Trade Hall in 1951 with a triumphant season of concerts.
In 1996, the Hallé moved to its new performance home of Bridgewater Hall, where it performs over 70 concerts annually. The orchestra also tours internationally and nationally, hosting over 40 UK concerts per year.