COLUMN: This year promises to be our biggest to date

The beautifully emotive ‘Girl with Knees Up’ sculpture by Sophie RyderThe beautifully emotive ‘Girl with Knees Up’ sculpture by Sophie Ryder
The beautifully emotive ‘Girl with Knees Up’ sculpture by Sophie Ryder
In My View by Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive, Halifax Piece Hall Trust

Big things are happening at The Piece Hall.

As much as I’m sworn to secrecy, it was pretty impossible to avoid the big name stars who were in residence last month for a big production coming to our small screens sometime soon.

And this big news, which put Halifax in the global headlines, has really set the tone for what promises to be our biggest year to date.

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If you’ve visited us in the last two weeks – or even walked past the gates you can’t fail to have noticed that we’ve welcomed some huge sculptures!

And it’s not just the scale of the works I’m referring to, it’s the stature of their creator, world renowned artist Sophie Ryder.

Her art has been shown all over the world, in America, Canada and Europe; one sculpture even took pride of place at the Glastonbury Festival, and now here they are in Halifax.

And what a coup for the town, we’re honoured to be hosting the global premiere of the beautifully emotive ‘Girl with Knees Up’, while the imposing and captivating ‘Dancing Hares’ is on display for the first time in UK.

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Photos of the works in situ at the Piece Hall have already made both national and international news.

The exhibition has been three years in the making, with the pandemic proving a major obstacle, but I was determined to bring Sophie’s work to The Piece Hall as I truly believe the value of arts and culture to our wellbeing cannot be over emphasised.

Thanks to support from Arts Council England we’re able host six imposing stunning pieces in The Courtyard and a selection of Sophie’s drawings and smaller works in The Gallery and The Lister Room until May 23 – all free of charge to view.

So, it really was wonderful to finally launch ‘Sophie Ryder at The Piece Hall’ last weekend.

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Sophie herself braved the storms to join us and say a few words about what this show means to her.

The winds were strong but what really blew us all away (pun intended) was just how at home the sculptures look here.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could display one on a more permanent basis..?

More big news last week was the announcement of our new partnership with promoters Cuffe and Taylor, who are part of Live Nation - the world’s leading live entertainment company, who will programme our summer seasons for the next five years.

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This means we can guarantee more world class acts will be coming to Halifax.

The Piece Hall always strives for the very best deals for our tenants, visitors, customers and of course The Trust itself, and we will always make positive changes when necessary.

The Piece Hall prides itself on being diverse, inclusive and accessible but we are also hugely ambitious for the venue and for Halifax.

We’re fully committed to supporting and nurturing local talent and artists throughout our year long programme and the more successful we are the more we are able to fulfil these aims

Increasing our profile and reputation on the global stage in no way diminishes what we are at our core.

We are local, we are independent, we are Halifax, but we are also big news.

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