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Hall for Cornwall picks name bfor venue’s new auditorium

Matt Dixon

Truro’s Hall for Cornwall has revealed its new auditorium will be named Cornwall Playhouse – Gwariji Kernow.
The announcement on St Piran’s Day last Friday was officially made by Cornwall Council leader Julian German during a socially distanced naming ceremony.
He said: “Over the last five years, Cornwall Council is proud to have unlocked £93 million to invest in growing and strengthening Cornwall’s cultural sector.
“The Hall for Cornwall redevelopment is a cornerstone of that activity which will truly enrich Cornwall’s cultural life and creative economy.
“This redevelopment will reawaken the beauty and history of City Hall, opening up the building and welcoming people and creative potential from across Cornwall. I am delighted that Cornwall Council has been able to support the redevelopment.”
Hall for Cornwall, the former City Hall, is undergoing a multi-million pound transformation with a new three-tiered, 1,352 capacity auditorium at its heart. It will reopen later this year.
Also attending Friday’s announcement was the Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek.
She said: “I am thrilled to see this wonderful new auditorium, showcasing the historic features of this important building, and I look forward to seeing Gwariji Kernow, the Cornwall Playhouse, promoting a range of Cornish culture in the years to come.”
The new auditorium, Cornwall Playhouse, will have better sightlines, acoustics and 300 more seats, giving capacity to attract high quality performances. There will be improved café, bar and public spaces and a creative digital business hub.
Hall for Cornwall hopes to attract over 300,000 visitors a year, boosting post-pandemic footfall in Truro city centre.
Julien Boast, CEO and Creative Director at Hall for Cornwall, said: “We are excited to announce Cornwall Playhouse as the new name for our magnificently transformed auditorium on this special day which celebrates Cornwall’s rich cultural tradition and heritage, and which has people, passion and possibility at its heart.
“While Hall for Cornwall remains the name of our venue and the mark of quality and experience in all that we do, whether you're visiting our theatre, being supported as an artist or participating in one of our youth workshops, Cornwall Playhouse will be home to our new stage programme where our motto will always be ‘Seriously Entertaining’.”
Friday also saw the launch of Hall for Cornwall’s new website and its digital heritage collection, alongside its new identities for its education, community and artist support programmes.
Get Creative is the new name for HfC’s programme of creative work with schools, families and communities, which is expected to reach over 50,000 young people in the next five years using theatre, dance, music and heritage.
A new co-working space called Husa (meaning ‘to create an illusion or dream’ in Cornish), funded by the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, will nurture and support Cornish performance artists and the creative industries, and is a first for a UK regional theatre.
The History & Heritage programme works with the community and volunteers to creatively interpret the building’s 175-year old history. The first phase of the online heritage collection, showcases the breadth and depth of the stories and histories that have been collected to date with oral histories, podcasts and a scrollable photographic timeline.
Last month, Hall for Cornwall announced that the world premiere of Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, a co-production of its new producing arm, Cornwall Playhouse Productions, would raise the curtain on its multi-million pound transformation and form the foundation of the theatre’s inaugural launch season.
The Grade II listed Hall for Cornwall in the heart of Truro closed its doors in 2018 for the start of a major regeneration. In addition to the totally redesigned auditorium and public spaces, a new front entrance on Boscawen Street will lead into an Ope that runs through to Lemon Street, giving behind-the-scenes glimpses of the workings of the theatre.
It was originally planned to reopen in the autumn of 2020 and then spring 2021, but construction delays caused by the pandemic means it will open later this year, in line with latest government guidance. Toward the end of last year, HfC received a £2m grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, to help meet additional costs caused by Covid-19 delays.

The transformation project is being supported by Arts Council England, Cornwall Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, HM Treasury, the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly (LEP), the European Regional Development Fund and an army of passionate and committed supporters.