On 20 November 2019, the new £6.6 million three-storey extension at Hallé St Peter’s, The Oglesby Centre, will open. The Centre adds new facilities to the existing Grade II listed church including the Victoria Wood Hall: a large new double height rehearsal space, the Monument Room: an interactive classroom for education work, and a café and bar which will be open to the public. The original church building that opened in 2013 will continue to be used by the Hallé Orchestra and its family of associated choirs and youth orchestra.
Based in the heart of Ancoats, The Oglesby Centre has been designed by Stephenson Studio, a Manchester based architecture firm who won the international RIBA competition. The aim of the new building is to continue to grow the Hallé’s education and outreach work, providing top class coaching and tuition for gifted individuals, as well as inclusive projects encouraging a wider range of children and adults to engage with music. Siemens, who have a long established relationship with the orchestra, have fitted the building with state of the art security and fire detection facilities.
John Summers, Hallé Chief Executive, said “In its completed form St Peter’s will enable us to bring together the Hallé Family under one roof, and provide a state of the art new facility for the community to use and enjoy. Alongside the wonderful Bridgewater Hall we will now have a rehearsal home for all of our choirs and orchestras, and a base for Hallé’s community programme”
The opening event will include a specially commissioned poem written and read by the poet laureate Simon Armitage, which will also feature in the fabric of the building. There will also be performances from the Hallé Orchestra and Youth Choir.
The celebrations will continue during the weekend of 23 and 24 November when the building will open to the general public, inviting them in to see the Hallé’s choirs and youth ensembles at work, as well as outreach events which will be taking place for the community. These will include a ‘Singing Meet-up’; a free group singing session run by Hallé Choral Conductors, and Hallé Magic; where a string trio of Hallé musicians and a session leader run a themed programme of activities for young children. The weekend will be a chance for the Hallé to reach out to new audiences, particularly in the local Ancoats community.