£6m church opens doors af­ter re­furb

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By EMILY HEWARD [email protected]­plc.com

AN­COATS’ his­toric Halle St Peter’s church re­opens this week­end af­ter a £6.6 m trans­for­ma­tion.

The Grade II listed build­ing dates from 1859 and has been used as a re­hearsal space by Manch­ester’s ac­claimed Halle sym­phony orches­tra since 2013.

A three-storey ex­ten­sion, The Oglesby Cen­tre, has now been com­pleted, adding a num­ber of new prac­tice rooms, per­for­mance spa­ces and a cafe and bar which will be open to the pub­lic.

Look­ing out over Cut­ting Room Square through slid­ing glass win­dows, the Halle Kitchen cafe and bar oc­cu­pies the ground floor of the weath­ered steel an­nexe,

In­side is a bright, white­washed seat­ing area con­nected to the bare brick­work of the orig­i­nal build­ing, where win­dows look through into the church it­self.

Guests will be able to call in for ev­ery­thing from cof­fee and cake to Sun­day lunch.

The Halle’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Andy Ryans said: “There’ll be ev­ery­thing from a quick bite to some­thing more sub­stan­tial. It will have a tra­di­tional sort of theme.

“There’s a lot of com­pe­ti­tion around the area and we wanted to place our­selves as be­ing some­thing fa­mil­iar, some­thing that rep­re­sents real value, some­thing that could re­flect the sea­sons and some­thing that is fresh and takes ad­van­tage of ev­ery­thing that’s ac­tu­ally not very far away from here.”

A stair­well bridges the old and new el­e­ments of the build­ing with a glass sky­light and walls re­veal­ing the tower.

Down in the base­ment is the pur­pose-built Mon­u­ment Room re­hearsal space, while up­stairs are fur­ther prac­tice rooms and the new Vic­to­ria Wood Hall, a flex­i­ble, acous­ti­cally-de­signed space that can be used for re­hears­ing, record­ing, per­for­mances and events.

A door in­scribed with a spe­cial­ly­commis­sioned poem, The Event Hori­zon, writ­ten by poet lau­re­ate Si­mon Ar­mitage, leads through to the orig­i­nal church build­ing, which is now back in use by the orches­tra and its fam­ily of associated choirs and youth orches­tra.

The Oglesby Cen­tre was de­signed by Manch­ester-based Stephen­son Stu­dio, who won an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion judged by the Royal In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects.

The Halle aims to grow its ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach work at the cen­tre, pro­vid­ing coach­ing for gifted mu­si­cians, as well as in­clu­sive projects en­cour­ag­ing a wider range of chil­dren and adults to en­gage with mu­sic.

The newly-com­pleted Halle St Peter’s Church

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