On Thursday, members of the CFWI Board of Trustees and office staff were invited on a tour of the ongoing work at the Hall for Cornwall. What a fascinating experience it was!
We met at the site office of the Kier Group, the builders responsible for this mammoth project, for a safety briefing. Then, after donning some rather fetching hard hats, high-vis vests, goggles and gloves, we made our way into the Hall for Cornwall. We were accompanied by representatives from the Kier Group, HfC Creative Director and CEO Julien Boast, and HfC Head of Marketing & Communications, Charlotte Somers.
We all thought we knew the main auditorium at the HfC so well, but we were astounded at how completely unrecognisable it is at the moment! The interior has been totally gutted, right back to the stone walls. The work has revealed some dramatic granite arches, which have been hidden from sight for years. The hope is that the stone walls and granite arches will be able to be incoporated into the Hall’s new design.
The plan next is to take the roof off (!!) the Hall, in order to start work on the new third tier of seating! This extra tier will mean that, once it re-opens in 2020, the HfC will have a seating capacity of 1,354. This increase means that it will be able to be more competitive in attracting top shows and events to Cornwall.
We were assured by CEO Julien Boast that neither ticket prices nor HfC hire prices would increase after the re-development.
Plans for the new space are very exciting. In addition to the increased seating, there will be new bars and cafes on both sides of the HfC, improved wheelchair access and a public walkthrough which will run through the building allowing public access between the new entrance foyer on Boscawen Street and Lemon Quay, offering behind the scenes glimpses into the daytime workings of an auditorium.
Among the rubble of the construction site, we came upon some real treasures. One was an old Truro market stone from 1615, inscribed with the motto, “Who seeks to find eternal treasure, must use no guile in weight or measure.” We also found a prison cell from the days when the building housed the police station in the 1800s.
We had such a lovely day with the folks from the Kier Group and the Hall for Cornwall, and they couldn’t have been more helpful in answering all our questions!
If, like us, you have questions, here’s a chance to get them answered. Charlotte Somers, Head of Marketing & Communications for the Hall for Cornwall, is keen to get the message out about what’s been happening with the project. If your WI is interested in having her or one of the HfC team come to talk to you, please contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on (01872) 321979.
You can see more photos of our day at the Hall for Cornwall here.