It’s here! The new Square Chapel Arts Centre and its official launch season of events

Square Chapel Arts centre is delighted to host its very first full programme since the completion of their stunning multi-million-pound capital redevelopment. Their autumn season of events marks the centre’s official opening. With a stunning new building, cinema and café/bar, and over 60 talks, comedy and live music acts, family and theatre shows, exclusive events with well-known faces and over 200 film screenings, Square Chapel Arts Centre in the heart of Halifax is the place to be this autumn.

Square Chapel Arts Centre Director, David McQuillan said: “We open with a real bang, the unmissable Gandini Juggling with Smashed, launching a whole weekend of family shows that’s rounded off by a very special performance from our Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Our first big theatre show is Antigone, in partnership with the Actors of Dionysus. I wanted them back as it was the first show I came to see here (14 years ago) realising what an incredible place I was in.”

We have an amazing opera production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. We also have two exclusive events with our patrons – George Costigan in conversation with playwright Willy Russell, and Natalie Gavin featuring in two events celebrating the life and works of the incredibly talented West Yorkshire writer Andrea Dunbar. This is, without doubt, the most inspirational time I’ve known at Square Chapel and most exciting season we’ve ever had.”


Opening weekend – Friday 8 – Sunday 10 September

This autumn, the people of Yorkshire and beyond are invited to join the newly extended arts centre in the heart of Halifax for its official launch weekend and season of events to follow.

The opening weekend kicks off with Gandini Juggling’s sensational show Smashed (Friday 8 September, 8pm & Saturday 9 September, 7pm). Audiences will be wowed by the mix of circus and theatre with this rare opportunity to see the award-winning global show performed by a company who have been at the forefront of contemporary circus for over 20 years and who have performed in over 40 countries.


Join the well-respected local musician and friend of Square Chapel, Roger Davies and his band who are guaranteed to please all, based on their previous sell out performances. Fans can expect a selection of Davies’ signature songs as well as material from the forthcoming album.


The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and her favourite musician, John Sampson, bring an hour of light and shade, laughter and reflection to Square Chapel on Sunday 10 September at 7.30pm. Audiences will hear Carol Anne read from her acclaimed collections including The World’s Wife and The Bees.


The official Square Chapel launch weekend includes lots to see and do for families too and all at a reduced ticket price between £3 – £5.


Based on the well-loved books by author Julia Donaldson and accompanied by live music, families are invited on an interactive storytelling adventure, bringing the popular stories Room on the Broom and Stick Man to life! (Saturday 9 September 10.30am & 11.30am).


For more family fun, little ones can enjoy Just Us Three and the Sea (Sunday 10 September, 11.30am). Accompanied by live music, this is a show about friendship, it’s full of fun and a perfect way to introduce your little ones to the magic of theatre.


Square Chapel is delighted to welcome back Patrick Lynch from Lyngo Theatre, a company who specialise in children’s theatre. This autumn, it’s a giant of a show with Jack and the Beanstalk. Families can expect lots of surprises, enormous shoes, tiny houses and beautiful scenery as Jack sells his cow for magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. This is the perfect show for little ones and their giants (Sunday 10 September, 2.30pm)


Exclusive Events at Square Chapel  

In conversation with Willy Russell:

On Sunday 26 November at 7.30pm, join actor and Square Chapel patron, George Costigan in conversation with playwright, Willy Russell.

Willy Russell left school at 15 with one O level – a D in English language. He started his working life as a hairdresser in Liverpool. He’s now one of the country’s most performed playwrights. His popular body of work includes Blood Brothers’, ‘Educating Rita’ and ‘Shirley Valentine’ – but he is also a novelist, a singer, songwriter, painter and an accomplished musician.


George Costigan, actor, writer, debut novelist (‘The Single Solder’) and Square Chapel patron, has appeared in not onlyRita Sue and Bob, Too’ and ‘Happy Valley’ but on stage in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers’, on film in Shirley Valentine’ and in Russell’s breakthrough work ‘John Paul George Ringo…and Bert’a musical based on the story of The Beatles, at the Liverpool Everyman in 1974 where the duo first met.

Square Chapel is honoured to present this exclusive event. Expect readings, stories, a Q&A and much more!


Celebrating the life and works of West Yorkshire playwright, Andrea Dunbar:

Square Chapel are proud to present a programme of events dedicated to celebrating the life and works of West Yorkshire playwright, Andrea Dunbar.

Dunbar’s work was drawn from life, all of which still resonates with the present day. Her first play – ‘The Arbor’ – was set on the street where she grew up. ‘The Arbor’ was followed by ‘Rita, Sue and Bob Too’, set on the Bradford Buttershaw estate and about two teenage girls having an affair with a married man. Her last play, before her life was cut short, was ‘Shirley’ – a snapshot of life in the working-class council houses of Bradford in the 1980’s.

Fans of the young playwright are invited to see the restored version of the Clio Barnard film, ‘The Arbor’ followed by a Q&A with actors Natalie Gavin and Manjinder Virk to talk about their experiences of starring in the film. They will be joined by author Adelle Stripe who will discuss her debut novel inspired by Dunbar’s short but extraordinary life and work – Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile.


As part of the evening, audiences will also see rare behind the scenes footage from the 1980 ‘The Arbor’ rehearsals – The Arena documentary devoted to Andrea Dunbar. (The Arbor + Arena Documentary + Q&A – Sunday 29 October, 7.30pm)


On Thursday 9 November at 7.30pm, for one night only, audiences can see Andrea Dunbar’s last play, ‘Shirley at Square Chapel. This will only be the third time this work has ever been staged! It’s a short play highlighting the struggles, relationships and the sometime comical lives of Shirley, her mum, best friend and boyfriends, as they simply exist in their dysfunctional world. Starring Square Chapel patron, Natalie Gavin. (Shirley – Thursday 9 November, 7.30pm)



This autumn, film fans are in for a treat as one of the biggest film events of the century, Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi epic can finally be seen – for the first time in 83 years – as the director originally intended and as originally seen by German cinema goers in 1927. On Sunday 17 September at 7pm, join other silent film fans for the 90th anniversary and experience the film Metropolis with live piano accompaniment in Square Chapel’s grade II* listed Red Brick auditorium situated in the original chapel side of the building.


As part of the official launch season, Square Chapel are delighted to include BBC One’s Film 2017 host, Danny Leigh’s top film highlights. Leigh’s alternative top ten films of the last year include: Aquarius; Further Beyond; Clash; Jawbone; American Honey; Homo Sapiens; After the Storm; Lady Macbeth; Personal Shopper and I Am Not Your Negro. Danny’s chosen films will be screened throughout the autumn in the new Square Chapel cinema.


Square Chapel have introduced a number of film offers and screenings to suit the many audiences they serve. These include Arts and Biscuits; Arts and Babies and Family Films.


On Fridays at 11am, Square Chapel will continue to screen their popular Arts and Biscuits film screenings. This is where audiences can enjoy classics as well as the latest releases and arthouse films with a drink and homemade biscuit all included in the £4 ticket price.


On Wednesdays at 11am, the Arts and Babies films are screened with the volume turned down slightly and the lights up a tad for the comfort of the parent and baby. This means new parents get to enjoy the latest film releases and babies go free helping to keep costs down. Tickets priced at £4 per adult and free for babies.


On Saturdays at 2pm, families can introduce their little ones to the magic of cinema with Square Chapel’s regular Family Fun screenings. Tickets are priced at £4 per person and under 3s are free.

Visit for the latest film screenings and offers.


Square Chapel Film Programmer, Dave Garratt said: “With the expansion of our building and the introduction of our new cinema space, we will have over 200 film screenings per season. That’s around 600 or more per year! This is very exciting, and part of my role as Film Programmer means I work with customers listening to what they want to see here at Square Chapel. This also means you get to see the latest releases and films you might not see elsewhere on the big screen – those with a limited distribution. As an independent cinema and venue, we programme on a week by week basis allowing us to cater for our audiences needs and wants and to work with the film distributors to bring the best film offering to Halifax. For more information on what you can see here, visit our website or pop in and pick up a weekly film leaflet.”



A familiar face, voice and name, Pam Ayres has been making the nation laugh for over 40 years. Funny, warm and an eye for the absurd details of everyday life and unforgettable turn of phrase, make Pam a true national treasure. This autumn (Saturday 16 September, 7.30pm) Pam Ayres is heading to Square Chapel for an evening of her much-loved wit and charm.

Square Chapel’s autumn season is packed with even more well-known names and faces. Peggy Seeger will take to the stage on Wednesday 29 November from 8pm with her long-awaited memoir ‘First Time Ever’, named after the classic love song that her husband, Ewan MacColl, wrote for her. Seeger combines performances of the songs that have meant the most to her over the years, with extracts from the book.

Fans can expect anecdotes from Seeger’s long and remarkable career delivered with her trademark wry humour together with memorable music performances from her sons Calum and Neill MacColl. This is a special show that will truly delight and entertain fans of one of the best loved queens of folk.



There’s more familiar faces as another national treasure takes to the Halifax stage. For one night only (Friday 24 November, 7.30pm) audiences are invited to join the much-loved Irish comedian, Jimmy Cricket. With one-liners galore, a sprinkling of visual comedy and that ever present letter from his mammy!


This season Square Chapel are proud to present three great shows in partnership with local and national theatre companies. These include Antigone by Actors of Dionysus; Medusa by Proper Job Theatre and Shivers in partnership with The Book of Darkness & Light in association with LittleMighty Theatre.


On Thursday 14 September, 8pm and on Friday 15 September, 7.30pm, see Antigone – when one girl dares to take a stand. This blistering new adaption sees Sophocle’s tragedy reimagined in a dystopian landscape, where fate is written in code and where drones flock across the skies.


For those who love a good ghost story, head to Square Chapel on Thursday 28 September at 7.30pm for Shivers. Audiences can expect some of the most chilling tales combined with the haunting sounds of the violin that fill the air as something stirs from the pages of this ghostly book full of tales.


Medusa (Friday 13 October, 8pm & Saturday 14 October, 7.30pm) is the story of a woman who exacts her revenge on the men that destroyed her and the Gods that cursed her. This is a modern adaptation of Medusa growing up in modern society that sheds light on the softer side of the ‘monster’ many know of. This is a powerful story not to be missed by mythical monster fans.


Taking the real and fictional worlds of Yorkshire’s literary siblings as their inspiration, We Are Bronte (Saturday 7 October, 8pm) is performed by two actors who combine theatre with comedy to deconstruct themes of love, madness and revenge.


The popular Mikron Theatre Company, who usually perform their shows in a nautical setting on Yorkshire’s canals, are back at Square Chapel with their new show Best Foot Forward. Join Mikron on Thursday 19 October, 7.30pm for a hike through the history of hosteling.


Other theatre shows this autumn include Mia (Thursday 12 October, 8pm) a show that explores the truths and myths about learning disability and parenthood; Near Gone (Friday 13 October, 7.45pm) a stunning and powerful play based on true events and delivered in English and Bulgarian with pounding gypsy inspired music. This play has been performed across the world and now comes to Yorkshire for the very first time; Marching on Embers (Thursday 5 October, 8pm) a show about radicalisation, the allure of violence and the toxic mix of power and masculinity against the backdrop of post Brexit fractured Northern Ireland; and Bomb Happy (Friday 10 November, 7pm) – a production that brings to life the verbatim memories of the five remaining York Normandy Veterans who, as young lads from York, Leeds, Sheffield and London find themselves part of one of the most important military operations in World War Two.


Square Chapel is an arts centre for the community it serves, and so aims to make theatre ticket prices just as accessible as its new building so as many people as possible can share the experience. With this in mind, the centre will continue with its popular Pay What You Can pricing options.


Pay What You Can is based on trust. The arts centre encourages theatre goers to make a judgement for themselves on what they can afford to pay from the £1 – £20 pricing option for some of its shows. This autumn there are eight shows to choose from including To Walk in Your Shoes (Thursday 19 October, 8pm) – a show complied from real life interviews with asylum seekers and refugees who had an hour to flee the country of their birth. This is a heartfelt play full of strength and resilience of the human spirit.


On Friday 27 October at 8pm, Pay What You Can and see MADE, a powerful play based on the real factory workers who struggle to survive in the slums around Bangladesh’s factories, the mothers, sisters and daughters who sweat behind the machines in these factories.


Get into why and how women fall in love with men on death row in The Road to Huntsville (Friday 17 November, 8pm) – a fascinating show, as seen on BBC2’s Edinburgh Nights, that blends fact with fiction as it explores unconventional love and state homicide.


Or take a trip to the beach with Seaside Terror (Thursday 23 November, 8pm) – this is a celebration of British horror and British holidays of the 1970s. Using puppetry and music, this is a funny, nostalgic and visually stunning show that will delight theatre goers.




Music lovers are in for a treat this autumn with an array of concerts to tune their ears into.


On Friday 22 September, join local band FOLD for the launch of the EP taking place at Square Chapel.

Fold are a gem in the Yorkshire music scene. Regularly featured on Huey Morgan’s BBC 6 Music radio show and recently on Lauren Laverne’s show, Fold’s music represents helping and promoting to advance equality and unity; to help break down barriers that may divide communities. Weaving tapestry of speaking and singing voices from the past and present into funky, jazz and soul, Fold remind audiences of the forces within that matter most.


With a host of rebel rousing folk songs and instruments, Mawkin (Sunday 19 November, 7.30pm) modernise traditional folk material with their own touch and have since excited audiences with their artillery of loud, foot stomping live music sets.


On Saturday 21 October at 7pm, opera fans are invited behind the velvet rope at London’s most exclusive club with The Magic Flute.


Tamino doesn’t have time to stop for beggars, the paparazzi, or even his girlfriend Pamina. Going to bed after a blazing row later that night, this ordinary couple relive the events and encounters of the evening in dreams made extraordinary by the lateness of the house, their senses and a touch of magic.


Following their hugely popular and critically acclaimed English language re-imaginings of operas including La Boheme and Don Giovanni, OperaUpClose take on Mozart’s classic The Magic Flute. One for any opera fan.



Comedy fans are invited to join comedian, writer, broadcaster and all-round British institution Arthur Smith (Friday 22 September, 7.30pm) and bask in an evening of laughter and off the wall humour.


Square Chapel are delighted to welcome back comedian James Acaster on Friday 3 November, 8pm with his Classic Scrapes Book Tour. This is a collection of Acaster’s self-deprecating anecdotes about scrapes he’s gotten himself into over the years.


For more laugh out loud moments experience the 2017 Halifax Comedy Festival. With over twenty acts and shows across six Halifax venues, audiences can get their belly laughs in with this year’s festival (Friday 20 – Saturday 28 October). For more information about the comedy festival visit


Family shows

Square Chapel has plenty to keep the kids entertained this autumn.

As part of the Halifax Comedy Festival, Square Chapel will also host its very first Comedy Club 4 Kids (Sunday 22 October, 2pm). Families with budding young comedians or those who like to chuckle, can do so and enjoy a swear-free hour with the circuits best stand-ups and sketch acts this October.

On Sunday 19 November, 2.30pm, float downstream with the musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s classical tale – The Ugly Duckling. Meet a host of characters as the duckling finds his way in the world. Will a happy ending await this humble hero? With fantastic puppetry and beautiful music, this is perfect for little ones and their grown-ups.

This October Half Term, join Square Chapel on a magical adventure for all the family. Meet Christopher Nibble and his guinea pig friends who love munching on dandelions. But Christopher knows it’s crunch time when there is just one dandelion left. Find out if this plucky little guinea pig has the flower power it takes to save the day. Families can experience this energetic show full of puppets, music and stunning scenery on Sunday 29 October, 2.30pm.

Head on over to Square Chapel on Wednesday 1 November, 2.30pm for more half term fun with The Music of Bremen. Based on the classic Grimm’s fairy tale, this show tells the tale of four animals, a donkey, a cat, a cockerel and a dog, who become extraordinary friends. With puppetry, trapeze and live music by the French theatre company Compagnie Animotion, this spectacular adventure for all the family shows you’re never too old to make your dreams come true.



Introduce your little ones to the magic of theatre this Christmas and rediscover a fairy tale full of love with Beauty and the Beast.


The theft of a single rose has monstrous consequences for Beauty and her father as this is no ordinary rose…and this is no ordinary fairy tale. Narrated by a pair of mischievous fairies, a very helpful rabbit and a thought snatcher machine, this timeless story will surprise, delight and enchant.


Adapted for the stage by Lucy Kirkwood and first performed at the National Theatre in London, this new co-production is full of beautiful scenery, captivating storytelling, compelling live action and magical shadow play. The perfect winter treat for all the family!


This is the first time Square Chapel have produced their very own in-house Christmas show, in partnership with the Beacon Actors.


Share experiences and make memories at Square Chapel Arts Centre this autumn.

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    Located centrally, opposite Halifax railway station, Square Chapel is right next door to the Piece Hall.