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Blackheath Halls renovation to transform performing arts venue

Mon 16 April 2018

London’s oldest purpose-built cultural complex is set to transform this summer with a £3m refurbishment. 

Blackheath Halls will close from May – October 2018 while it undergoes significant upgrades to the Great Hall, foyer, bar and backstage facilities.

Founded in 1895 by William Webster, the Grade II-listed building in Blackheath, south east London, is still at the centre of cultural life in the area. The venue’s Patron Jools Holland has said that the Halls “play a pivotal role in the community on so many levels and for so many age groups.”

At the heart of Blackheath Halls is the stunning 600-seat Great Hall, which hosts a variety of events from concerts to tea dances, wedding receptions, opera, jazz, comedy, and a popular annual community opera. It is also in huge demand as a rehearsal and recording venue for top professional orchestras, including the English National Opera Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.

Recent performers and speakers to appear include Jimmy Carr, Monty Don, Romesh Ranganathan, Sir Simon Rattle, Kate Rusby, Michael Portillo, Ruby Wax, Sir Willard White and Robert Winston.

The Halls are wholly owned by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. They serve as the primary performance and rehearsal space for Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music, presenting operatic, orchestral, jazz and chamber performances from the musical stars of the future.

Funded by The Hearn Foundation, Arts Council England, Viridor Credits, Trinity Laban, the Friends of Blackheath Halls, and further income from a fundraising campaign, renovations will allow the Great Hall to offer an even more diverse events programme.

Led by architects Woods Bagot, the refurbishment will level and lower the sloped stage, enabling dance companies to use it for the first time. Retractable raked seating will improve sight lines and audience comfort, while new curtains and screens will improve acoustics and stage equipment and lighting enhance the performer and audience experience. A new colour palette for the venue has been chosen with the rich heritage of the building in mind.

Over the summer, Blackheath Halls will continue to present events in other venues around London, including the Halls’ annual community opera Dido and Aeneas at The Albany in Deptford, operatic and musical theatre productions at Stratford Circus, and a series of recitals at the Old Bakehouse Theatre, Blackheath.  

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Fundraising continues at