Several years ago, we dreamed of a concert hall within Chetham’s – a concert hall with an acoustic to match the superb quality of students’ playing, a space to bring together emerging and established artists to celebrate the best in music and live performance.
Now The Stoller Hall’s Opening Weekend is just nine months away, and as it draws closer we’re enjoying lining up artists for an exciting Opening Weekend, building links with promoters and media partners, and imagining the empty space filled with music and applause. And then there are the conversations we didn’t think of, all those years ago – the conversations about mirrors for the toilets, dustbins for dressing rooms, desks for offices as the staff team grows.
It’s not all mundane. On our long shopping list is the technical equipment that will turn playing into performance; music stands and lights, the conductors’ podium to be used by Sir Mark Elder for the Hall’s Opening Weekend, stools for bass players and percussionists. We’ll have 45 stage lights to transform the space for different types of performance, a full array of speakers, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound desks in a fully fitted control room.
Other items on the list will transform audiences’ experiences, whether they’re visiting us for conferences, lunchtime concerts in the Carole Nash Hall, or evening performances in the The Stoller Hall itself. In the Oglesby Atrium, already flooded with natural light, will be a brand new bar serving drinks and refreshments before each performance, and a Box Office for easier ticket sales, whether online or on the day. There will be a cloakroom for visitors’ bags and coats, additional toilet facilities, and screens so that latecomers don’t miss out on what’s happening whilst they wait to find their seats.
It’s vital that artists are made comfortable, so they can save their energies for the stage. Backstage, we’re fitting out dressing rooms and Green Rooms with mirrors, showers and wardrobes. With internationally acclaimed artists already in conversations about visiting the Hall, this will make sure that costumes and makeup are as flawless as the music, and that artists are fully prepared to give their very best performance.
It’s a long list, and this is just the beginning. Over the next nine months we’ll veer from the sublime to the all-too-ordinary, as we work to make The Stoller Hall work for every one of its visitors – for those front and back of house, from infancy up to older age, and for every performance in the rich programme that’s coming together for the Opening Season.