Next week marks a year since Skipton Town Hall reopened its doors after a £5 million restoration project.
Some of the artists who have performed at the impressive revamped Concert Hall in the last 12 months include Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, Balbir Singh Dance Company, Extended Play, Maria Ferguson and Ian McMillan - who performed with Orchestra in residence, Skipton Camerata, and wrote and performed new poem 'Let's Hear it for Skipton Town Hall'.
The Town Hall is also committed to nurturing local talent and has played host to a Craven Music Match concert with young musicians, choral events for schools and pre-schools, performances from Falling Stars Theatre and workshops from Yorkshire based creatives.
The Town Hall acted as a venue partner for Skipton International Puppet festival and Hinterlands International Rural Film Festival.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund recently chose to showcase the Craven Museum & Gallery redevelopment project as part of their Dynamic Collections campaign. They were impressed with how the museum has made the collections more accessible, enabled local people to contribute directly to the displays and interpretation, and improved the visitor experience. They hope that other museums will be inspired by the work completed by the CDC Cultural Services team. the Skipton Town Hall redevelopment project has just been shortlisted for Conservation and Regeneration project of the year at the Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber Awards.
The £5 million project involved restoration and refurbishment of the historic Concert Hall; a complete reconfiguration and reinterpretation of museum collections and the building of a museum store; the final third of the project was the creation of a new build extension for a dedicated education room, dressing rooms for the Concert Hall performance space, and additional facilities including a Changing Places Toilet.
Currently, final improvements are being made to the frontage of the Town Hall building; this includes stone repairs, new building furniture and a redesign of the front cobbled area for planters and public seating.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, Cllr Simon Myers, Chairman of Craven District Council and lead member for Enterprise, said: “This project has created a modern museum that tells the story of Craven, Skipton and the wider Dales, along with a revitalised Concert Hall – now a flexible performance space suitable for the 21st century and capable of hosting ambitious productions, plus a 100m2 white box exhibition gallery offering opportunities to see solo shows of renowned artists.
“The project has been a major success story with visitor numbers from 60,000 to 100,000; the feedback the council and Town Hall have had from both regular community and tourist visitors has been overwhelmingly positive; we have created a cultural hub that everyone feels welcome and visitor numbers are incredibly encouraging.
“Last year we reopened with a programme of events to mark Pride Month and this year we will be building on this with an even larger programme so watch this space!”
To mark the special anniversary, on Tuesday 21st June, Skipton Town Hall will offer 20% off sales in the town hall shop. The retail area offers a carefully curated and fun collection of treats and presents, including unique and locally produced crafts, educational gifts, books, homeware, souvenirs and greeting cards. Every purchase supports the Skipton Town Hall cultural hub and the outreach work across Craven.
Skipton Town Hall is open from Monday to Saturday with free entry to Craven Museum, the Exhibition Gallery and Visitor Centre.