Our plans for the future

 Dear Supporter

As one of the leading providers of performing arts in Calderdale, Square Chapel offers a platform for new and exciting work across artforms, and is a vibrant centre for arts participation across communities and generations..

Now in its twenty fifth year, and with audiences and visitors reaching over 40,000 people every year, Square Chapel has outgrown its current facilities and we are therefore embarking on an ambitious but deliverable plan to secure our future with an exciting and contemporary extension to the existing building, leading up to the Piece Hall. The new building will house a new performance space and technical facilities, while visitor facilities will be upgraded to accommodate increased audiences, and provide an improved environment for all users.

The project has been developed to ensure that we can develop and flourish, expand artistically, fulfil and extend our community role, and secure our long term financial viability.

Please support us in this exciting venture!

Director, Square Chapel Trust

The new building

Robert Evans www.evansvettori.co.uk has designed a contemporary building using modern materials, glass and copper cladding, to unite the red brick of Square Chapel with the stone of the Piece Hall. The extension will comprise:

  • a new 120+ seat multi-purpose auditorium, to be used for small scale, intimate performances, film, and daytime activities such as workshops and rehearsals
  • a large foyer housing a café/bar and box office which will link the new auditorium to Square Chapel with level access throughout
  • new dressing rooms
  • new meeting rooms
  • a new lift and staircase, giving access to ground floor toilets
  • new and improved customer toilets
  • new offices and storage
  • new accommodation for the volunteers

Who will benefit

Our audience and visitor needs and expectations are at the centre of the project. The successful delivery of the project will directly benefit current audiences, and enable the development of new audiences, including:

  • People living and working in the region
  • Older people
  • People with limited mobility
  • Diverse communities
  • Children and young people
  • Families
  • Artists
  • Volunteers
  • Visitors and tourists.

Heritage Benefits
The proposed work will ensure that the historic elements of Square Chapel are sympathetically restored allowing the building to fulfil and extend its role as a busy performing and community arts centre. The work will ensure that the fabric of this much loved historic building is safe and secure for future generations to enjoy.

Proposed internal works include:-

  • updating and upgrading public spaces throughout the building
  • replacing historic plaster
  • plastering interior walls which are still bare brick
  • installing new heating system
  • installing new floors and new partitions to provide flexible spaces
  • installing technical upgrades to the auditorium
  • undertaking minor roof repairs

Proposed external work would make the historic old graveyard a more comfortable place to sit and spend time by:-

  • restoring and interpreting historic ledger stones
  • installing new seating
  • creating a drop off point for people with disabilities.

What it will cost; How you can help

The project will cost £5.9m, and we delighted with the support of £3.9m from Arts Council England, while the land for the new building has been generously given by Calderdale Metropolitan District Council. We aim to raise the balance of £2m from Trusts and Foundations, individuals and the business community.
More than £1m has been raised so far, including generous pledges of £500,000 from the Monument Trust, £300,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, £100,000 from the Foyle Foundation, and £50,000 from both the Sir George Martin Trust and the Wolfson Foundation, together with a number of generous donations from individuals,.

We are well on the way – but need your help to reach our target.  Sign up below to keep in touch with developments, and look out for the launch of the public campaign in April.

The fundraising campaign is named Cornerstone, reflecting the physical nature of the building , and also that this project is the cornerstone of our plans for sustainability and financial security.

Fundraising Update January 2013

Square Chapel Centre for the Arts was delighted to announce on 22 January  that Arts Council England approved its Stage 2 application for funding for the Cornerstone project, meaning the organisation will receive £3.9 million from the National Lottery to transform its current space and build a stunning new extension.  

This wonderful support from Arts Council England makes a vital contribution to the £5.9m overall project costs, and, together with the £1.1m in pledges from trusts and foundations already received, takes the project well on the way to its funding target.

Applications will continue to be submitted to trusts and foundations, and a public campaign will be launched in April, to raise the balance of less than £1m.

The ACE award is a wonderful show of support and acknowledgement of the great work Square Chapel does in bringing the best touring theatre, music, comedy and dance to Halifax.  This investment will mean that Calderdale audiences will benefit from even more of the high-quality arts and cultural experiences they have come to expect from the thriving Arts Centre.  Cluny Macpherson, Regional Director of Arts Council England, “This project will enable the excellent Square Chapel to bring more high quality theatre and other performances to Halifax and greatly improve the experience for audiences and artists alike.  It will also be able to extend its important role in the community increasing opportunities for local people to take part in arts activities.  With strong support from Calderdale Council as well as our investment of £3.9 million of National Lottery money, this redevelopment will help Square Chapel secure a sustainable future in the heart of the town, alongside a revitalised Piece Hall and fantastic new centre for young people.”

Square Chapel is enormously grateful to Arts Council England, who have been a huge source of support and encouragement since it first opened as an arts centre in 1988.  This funding comes with real responsibility, which Square Chapel take very seriously.  Cornerstone has grown out of years of work, planning and research and the organisation is confident in its ability to make the most of this opportunity for the benefit of the cultural offer locally, nationally and internationally.  Square Chapel’s Director Sally Martin said, “We wish to express our massive gratitude to Arts Council England.  The Cornerstone development is essential to the future success of Square Chapel.  We will be able to welcome more audiences than ever before, provide more opportunities for people to engage in arts activities and workshops, support the development of the next generation of performers and cement our position within the new cultural hub for Calderdale.”

Linking directly to the Piece Hall’s new Visitor Orientation and Heritage Interpretation Centre, Cornerstone will be a breathtaking landmark and a visible sign of Halifax as one of the fastest growing cultural destinations in the UK. The Piece Transformation Project secured planning permission in December 2012 and Listed Building Consent in January 2013.

The development of Square Chapel would not be taking place without the ongoing commitment and encouragement from Calderdale Council.  The local authority has been instrumental in helping the Arts Centre secure this investment and share the vision of creating a new cultural hub in Halifax.  Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said, “We are delighted at Square Chapel’s success in securing the Arts Council investment. Their ambitious plans will complement the transformation of the Piece Hall, and provide yet further evidence of the confidence at a national level in what is happening in Halifax, supporting our vision of a revitalised town centre.”

Square Chapel’s extension is the final piece of the jigsaw that will transform this area of the town centre, complementing the Piece Hall, the new library and the Orangebox Young People’s Centre making it the key destination for culture and tourism in the town.

Square Chapel is well prepared to deliver a capital project of this scale, having overseen the development of the £3.8 million myplace funded Orangebox - a state of the art facility created by, and for, the young people of Halifax which will open in Spring 2013.

Find out more

Sign up for the quarterly Cornerstone e-newsletter, so we can keep you in touch with our progress:-


September 2014

An enthralling new adaptation of Dickens' classic tale Great Expectations @squarechapel Wednesday 8 Oct #bradfordhour http://t.co/rYrlZ22fhx

Sep 18, 2014