Vision revealed for Borough Hall under plans to make Hartlepool into a 'major cultural centre'
Plans for the Borough Hall, located in the Headland area of the town, include a refurbishment for the site and increased capacity.
The building was highlighted in the council’s capital and indigenous growth investment programme as one to be allocated regeneration funding in the town.
A report from Andrew Carter, assistant director for economic growth and regeneration on the council, has outlined the vision for the building going forward.
He states the aim is to provide ‘live music industry pathways to young people from the Tees Valley’ and offer space, performance and networking opportunities.
This will include building a ‘high quality, diverse programme’ of live arts, film and entertainment, specialising in music, and running a ‘vibrant, welcoming cultural venue’.
In the report, he said: “Proposals to increase the overall capacity of the main hall will have high quality music performances at the centre of this new ethos for the building.
“The renovation of the Borough Hall and reimagining of certain areas provide the opportunity for a new philosophy and a new direction centred upon music and film.
“The proposed overall purpose, vision and mission of the venue going forward is…to inspire people of all ages to create, think and participate in the cultural life of Hartlepool and the Tees Valley.”
He added it would also help position Hartlepool as a ‘major cultural centre in the Tees Valley and wider North East’.
Plans include refurbishing the venue by updating and extending the main auditorium, balcony and stage, along with the entrance, dressing rooms box office and more.
They also want to create a new suite of artist and production spaces and green room facilities.
This would include new sustainable employment opportunities in hospitality, stage crew and professional performers.
Plans are also to ‘rebalance gender inequality backstage and onstage’ by setting a target of 50% female staff and performers.
Council officers noted they have visited numerous comparable venues across the country to observe best practice for the plans.
A comprehensive business plan and project delivery plan is being developed which will be presented to a future meeting of Finance and Policy Committee, which will include details of funding for the work.
The Borough Hall was opened in 1866 and in 1926 it was converted into a Council Chamber and a dance hall with a capacity of 2,000.
The current function is as an entertainment venue with meeting rooms, offices, a library and a wedding venue.
Council chiefs included Borough Hall among £53million investment plans for culture in Hartlepool when drawing up the town’s budget for the coming financial year.
Other projects identified to be funded with the ‘cultural’ budget include bringing Headland amphitheatre back into use and to support work to improve Hartlepool Art Gallery.
:: The report outlining the vision for Borough Hall will go to Hartlepool Borough Council Regeneration Services Committee at 1pm on Wednesday March 11 at the Civic Centre.