What's it all about?
The Hall Exeter is a new and unique Heritage, Community, Education & Arts Centre in Exeter, Devon. We occupy a stunning Grade II* listed Victorian Sunday School on Stepcote Hill that was converted into a miniature theatre in 1959. We currently have three key objectives:
- To provide the local and regional community with opportunities to increase participation in Heritage, Educational, Charitable, Artistic, Culinary, Social, Theatrical, Intergenerational and Musical Events and Performances.
- To provide an occasional free or subsidised resource and focal point specifically for the community of Stepcote Hill and Exeter’s West Quarter.
- To provide access to The Hall Exeter’s cultural activities and events to a national and international audience through online archiving, webcasting and podcasting.
We envisage putting on and organising events ourselves, and hiring out The Hall to those who wish to hold their own events, classes and functions. We hope that it will be a magical, stylish and flexible space that will suit theatre, dinner-dance, meetings, launches, music, private dining, classes, talks and heritage/social events.
We intend to concentrate on things that stimulate thought and debate, provide unique social opportunities, broaden our horizons and strengthen the local community. We aim to cater for all faiths and political persuasions in the spirit of tolerance and open-mindedness. A few of our events will specifically target age groups that we feel are under-represented, such as seniors citizens and families with young children. Since the project's inception, we have developed a good working relationship with the students and staff at Exeter University and we hope that The Hall will be a place where the University and local community can meet, collaborate and integrate even further.
Why should I be a supporting member?
We hope that being a member will give you some sense of ownership and a voice on what we do and how we do it. The Hall is intended to be a community in itself. While anyone may become a supporting member, membership is dependant on continued respect for local residents, other members, venue rules and the spirit in which the venue has been formed. We hope that, in time, membership will grow to include a diverse mix from the immediate vicinity, Exeter and beyond. Once we are established a membership charge of around £20.00 per year will go towards the running of The Hall, but for then foreseeable future, its totally free or until we feel we can give you great value for money. Currently we have over 2000 members made up of a incredible diverse cross section of the community.
Once a member, you will get a monthly newsletter that will give you advance notice of events and classes as well as invitations to events not publicised anywhere else. When you're ready to join, click on the membership tab on the menu to get started, it only takes a few minutes.
What kind of events will there be?
We hope The Hall will be a serene and inspirational place for local and regional artists to display their art and photography. Members will also have access to a range of art classes and workshops.
We'll aim to provide our members with a range of classes and workshops, from cooking and painting to yoga and creative writing. Maybe you'd like to hold your class or workshop at The Hall?
We are hugely passionate about all kinds of dance. We hope to bring you some really interesting touring shows, plus classes and workshops from some of the country's leading contemporary dancers, choreographers and teachers. Our themed dinner dances will also provide lots of opportunities to practise what you've been learning.
Our plan is to offer a flexible space in which restaurants, chefs and regional food suppliers can hold culinary events that seek to broaden our horizons, improve our home-cooking skills or promote local produce. We'll have a fully functioning kitchen and The Hall itself will provide a beautiful backdrop for a unique communal dining experience.
The Hall is not only a fantastic example of our architectural and social heritage, it will be a place where we can participate and learn about many other aspects of our local history, traditions and skills. Expect to see some local and national traditions revived, classes where you can learn traditional skills and events that celebrate our diverse and rich heritage.
Exeter has many excellent music venues for bands and DJs and we won't try to compete. Instead, The Hall will provide a space for musical events that currently don't have a place elsewhere. Our programme will favour the unusual, the moving and the unique: expect the unexpected.
We intend to provide some stylish, memorable and magical social events for the over-55s. With much of the high street dedicated to the under-30s, we believe that there's big demand for a broad range of events designed for the more experienced and refined among us.
One of our key aims is to provide a place for open debate, intellectual stimulation and inspiring talks from local and national figures of all ages and backgrounds. We may host open-mic nights or themed multi-speaker events. We want to feature topics such as education, social equality, medicine and well-being alongside the arts and anything else that takes our fancy. Our events will never be used to promote single political or religious agendas, though we're of course happy for such topics to explored in context.
The Hall has a long history of providing high-quality theatre and we don't want that to stop now. The Hall will remain equipped to run all kinds of productions; in fact we're redesigning the space to offer even more potential configurations. We hope that The Hall will attract those productions that require greater flexibility in how they work. We also hope that our members will hold their own theatrical and music-hall events here.
The founders of The Hall are passionate about education, learning and youth work. We have partnered with roundspace education, a regional social enterprise that aims to improve the education experience of young people. Over the next few years we hope to collaborate to offer some innovative workshops, summer schools and other youth events that aim to improve learning, promote creativity and elevate confidence.
We have already had a great deal of interest from members and local yoga teachers about classes at The Hall. Certainly we expect to offer at least one type of yoga class here every week. We may offer other types of events that promote mental or physical health.
When will you open?
As is the way with these things, we have been dogged with delays from the start. We had plans to complete the renovations by summer 2015 but issues with fire regulations, legal status and various permissions have set us by at least a year. Having gutted and restored the exterior and interior of the building to its original foot print and feel, we are now applying for grants to help us upgrade the facilities including fire escapes, a new floor, heating, toilets, lighting, sounds and modular stage. We have now idea how long this will take so we are now not giving timeframes. We would like to apologies for the delays but can assure you we have been pushing and working as hard as is possible.