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National Heritage Lottery Fund supports Hall for All

The National Heritage Lottery Fund has given initial support to a project that will develop a new arts and performance space in the Grade II listed Assembly Hall at Acland Burghley school, Tufnell Park.

The venue will also host the first Museum of Brutalist Architecture (MoBA) in the UK.

The ‘Hall for All’ project aims to fill a gap in professional arts venues for communities in Tufnell Park, Dartmouth Park, Archway and Kentish Town Fundraising is now launching to raise a further £1.3m in order to complete the project.

An imaginative plan to transform the Brutalist, hexagonal hall at Acland Burghley school into a community arts and performance space – plus the first ever Museum of Brutalist Architecture (MoBA) in the UK – has been announced, after receiving initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project, which received a £110,000 grant thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will create a much-needed arts and performance space for the community. The overall plan for the site has been developed by local architects Reed Watts and has won planning permission from Camden Council. The project aims to transform this Grade II listed space by:

  • Restoring the inside of the hall to its original, Brutalist glory
  • Installing an underground earth duct passive ventilation system – the single most expensive element in the project – to minimise environmental impact
  • Installing flexible, modern staging and seating for a capacity of up to 300 people plus disabled access to ensure all members of the community can both participate both as audience members and performers
  • Creating flexible backstage areas and updating the acoustics and lighting in order to facilitate world-class performances
  • Revamping front of house facilities to ensure wide participation in a range of events
  • Opening out the south side of the building for outdoor productions in front of a restored amphitheatre area

The school has been working on the Hall for All plans for some time but the Heritage Fund grant will enable them to further progress these plans over the next year. It will also fund a Community, Culture and Heritage Project Manager for a year. The venue, funding permitting, will be run by a community-led management board which will be separate from Acland Burghley school.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Acland Burghley’s assembly hall was originally conceived back in the 1960s for use both by the school and the local community. This project means that this building will be restored to be fit for the 21 st century while returning it to the local community and school. Thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve been able to give our initial support to the project and look forward to working with the team as they progress their plans to apply for their full funding.”

The race is now on to raise a further £1.3 million in the next year so further support is needed to reach this ambitious target. It’s hoped this will be achieved through established foundations and generous individual donors alongside smaller community fundraising events and ideas.

Nicholas John, Headteacher of Acland Burghley school, said: “We are over the moon that, in a very tough funding climate, the Hall for All project has received this initial support from the Heritage Fund and we would like to thank National Lottery players who have made it possible. We want not just our own students but the whole community to enjoy putting on and watching dance shows, music events, art exhibitions, and a range of other activities in a permanent gallery space and engaging with the heritage of the school, its community and its architecture through groundbreaking exhibitions at MoBA.”

The venue is already used by the internationally-renowned Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, which – in a UK first – is based in the school. It works closely with students on music projects within the curriculum as well as the Dreamchasing Young Producers club, which puts on the ground-breaking Live at the Hex community events every term.

Since September the space has also been used by the new Hex Community Choir and Orchestra. If you would like to see the space for yourself, they will be performing their summer concert Thursday 29 June at 7.30pm in the Assembly Hall.