THREE Yorkshire arts projects are to get a significant boost thanks to funding from the Arts Council.
The trio include plans to transform the concert hall at Skipton Town Hall into a “cultural hub” for the Craven district, allowing it to live stream national performances and broadcast its own productions to remote rural communities.
Funding will also go to Northern Broadsides theatre company to improve facilities at Halifax’s Dean Clough Mill, and Bradford South Asian arts organisation Kala Sangam, for refurbishment work at its base, St Peter’s House.
Craven District Council received £250,000 for the Skipton Town Hall project.
Councillor Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s lead member for Enterprising Craven, said: “It is fantastic news that the Arts Council has granted us this funding, which will allow us to realise our ambitions for this historic building.
“We have exciting plans for the future and this work will be instrumental in fulfilling those plans – with proposals including new lighting and sound systems, digital projection broadcasting equipment, black-outs and secondary glazed windows, we will be able to vastly improve the quality of our arts programming.”
Last year the council commissioned a feasibility study for the restoration of the Concert Hall to improve the range and quality of the venue and its programme.
The study recommended a range of improvements including replacing the lighting system and sound system; moving the control box so that it faces the stage; installing infra-red assisted listening system for the hearing impaired; purchasing digital projection broadcasting equipment, new seating, and a removable vinyl dance floor; commissioning an acoustic study; installing black-outs; and installing secondary glaze windows to reduce energy consumption and for noise control.
The council will now draw up plans for the work, which is expected to take place throughout 2016 and 2017.
Northern Broadsides was awarded £251,000 to installing an infra-red assisted listening system at Dean Clough’s Viaduct theatre, and provide safer audience access and spaces for wheelchair users.
It will concentrate on health and safety aspects needing attention and re-fit and extend the dressing rooms to create a habitable, multi-purpose space.
Artistic director Barrie Rutter said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the award. The Viaduct Theatre at Dean Clough in Halifax is a space with its own, powerful “wow” factor. Performers and audiences alike will share great benefits from the improvements and the wow will be increased.”
Jeremy Hall, managing director of Dean Clough Ltd, said: “Since 1992 we have been privileged to assist Northern Broadsides in its outstanding series of theatrical accomplishments. The unique features of the Viaduct Theatre have proved to be an ideal complement to their distinctive style but the space’s industrial origin inevitably means that it has operational deficiencies.
“We hope that this project not only helps Broadsides to bring its regional resource in line with its demonstrable popularity but initiates yet another evolutionary phase in its extraordinary history.”
Kala Sangam has been awarded £267,136 for essential refurbishment work to St Peter’s House, its base and arts facility in central Bradford. It is hoped the workss will increase Kala Sangam’s trading income, reduce energy costs and improve the company’s overall sustainability and resilience.
Ajit Singh, chief executive of Kala Sangam said: “We are delighted to have been successful with our capital grant and are grateful to the Arts Council of England and the Lottery. This significant grant will allow for us to continue growing our income through the use of the building but also save costs with the environmental sustainability works to make our building more attractive to the creative as well as commercial sectors”.
Michelle Dickson, Director North, Arts Council England said, “Kala Sangam’s refurbished space in the heart of Bradford will enable it to develop partnerships with other organisations in promoting South Asian and intercultural arts and to bring together diverse artists and audiences while increasing the quality of audience experience. I’m pleased that we have awarded funding to this project and look forward to seeing how Kala Sangam’s work develops.”
A total of £10.8 million has been awarded to 39 arts organisations across England in this round of funding.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: “We’ve seen applications from organisations of all sizes, from far and wide, and it’s fantastic to be able to support their ambitions through our small-scale capital programme. This funding provides support to get many vital projects off the ground, ensuring the successful applicants have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work across the country.”