New £2.8m arts space for children
In just over three months the newly transformed Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port will open for business as a new children's theatre and performance arts space.
The hall will be one of a handful of specialist spaces across the country dedicated to young people. As well as a theatre, the building will include a community cafe, terrace and workshop spaces offering various cultural activities, all overlooking Whitby Park. The project has been funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Arts Council England, providing a home for nationally-recognised resident children's theatre company Action Transport Theatre. The old hall's impressive makeover includes a new roof, windows, and flooring, and a new layout that allows easy movement round the hall and out into the gardens behind. The final three months of the scheme will include a technical fit-out, interior design work and a new website. The hall will reopen from August 10-20, when Action Transport will lead a third arts trail and summer programme. The trail, Once Upon a Time, will animate parts of Whitby Park with installations and specially- composed music. Later in the autumn the hall will host visiting productions and special performances for schools and families, National Theatre Live screenings for local audiences, weekly workshops and a Family Film Club. The venue will also host the the Lemn Sissay Christmas Dinner for care-experienced young people. The £2.8M capital programme has also received a grant from the Marjory Boddy Trust, which will refurbish the new cafe.
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