“We are all heartbroken” - Reaction as trust in charge of Square Chapel goes into administration

The acting director of Square Chapel says she is heartbroken after the trust that runs the Halifax arts centre went into administration.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 23rd March 2020, 4:51 pm

Patrick Lannagan and Conrad Pearson of Mazars LLP have been appointed Joint Administrators of The Square Chapel Trust (“the Trust”), a registered charity, and its subsidiary Square Trading Ltd as of March 19 2020.

Square Chapel’s closure means the loss of jobs for its 50 strong team of staff as of March 31, unless another solution is found.

Linda Parker, acting director at Square Chapel said: “Square Chapel is one of Calderdale’s most loved arts venues.

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Square Chapel, Halifax

“We are all heartbroken that Square Chapel has closed after all the work that has gone into creating this wonderful asset for our town and for Calderdale.

“We have always been fragile, despite us looking extremely successful since our renovation.

“Arts and culture will always need subsidy, the funding landscape has changed, and the building is expensive to maintain.

“It feels very surreal right now, and I have no doubt that we will be united in our shock and sadness.

“However, we have many supporters who love Square Chapel and we will continue to do whatever is needed to get the best outcome for this special place.

“In the meantime, I will reflect to some of the best memories and experiences of my life that have taken place at Square Chapel.

“I will be writing to volunteers, members and the many partners we have worked with over the years to thank them for everything they have done.”

Jenny Lynn, Chair of Square Chapel’s Board of Trustees said: “It is with great sadness that we have had to close after exploring all the options to achieve our long-term aim of becoming fully financially sustainable.

“Most arts centres and theatres are fragile, and coronavirus has made our financial challenges impossible to overcome.

“On behalf of everyone who has supported Square Chapel in any way throughout its thirty-year history, thank you.

“It is our belief that, as Anthony Gormley said recently, “every town should have somewhere like Square Chapel” - and that somehow, in the months and years to come, the vitality and spirit of Square Chapel will live on.”

The original ‘red brick’ Square Chapel was built in 1772 and is Grade 2* Listed.

It preceded the historic Piece Hall next door by 7 years and was designed by the same architect Thomas Bradley.

Just over 200 years later Square Chapel was purchased for £26 by local architects Robin and Jessica Sutcliffe who saved it from demolition and brought it life as an arts centre for music and theatre performances.

Run largely by volunteers and a small staff team, Square Chapel went from strength to strength, as it successfully established itself as an important provider of professional and community arts events and activities within Calderdale and across the region.

In recent years Square Chapel successfully fundraised to improve and extend its existing facilities, and build a modern atrium and cinema, which opened in June 2017.

Square Chapel attracted around £100,000 visitors per year since it re-opened.