Today (Yorkshire Day 2022), The Piece Hall is marking the fifth anniversary of its 2017 re-opening following a multi-million pound refurbishment with the news that the venue has now welcomed over 10 million visitors (10,500,300) despite being affected for over a year of this by lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past five years, this unique visitor attraction has welcomed hundreds of thousands of people to its makers markets and more than 140,000 music fans to its live shows, with almost 60,000 people attending Live at The Piece Hall 2022 alone.
Offering a safe, free-to-enter space to support community and visitor wellbeing, The Piece Hall has entertained and engaged with more than 26,000 children and adults with arts, craft and community workshops and worked with almost 4,500 school children on various heritage projects. The Piece Hall’s dedicated volunteers have also given-up a massive total of 11,500 hours of their time to help support the smooth running of the venue and enrich the customer experience.
CEO of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson DL, said:
“We are all so proud of what we’ve achieved in the last five years, in some incredibly challenging circumstances. Global pandemics seemed like the stuff of Hollywood movies when our beautiful building reopened in 2017 and who could have imagined what we have all lived through since then. But we’ve survived and are now beginning to thrive with the return of world-class arts and music events and we’ve even welcomed some genuine Hollywood stars this year!
“I know just how precious this building is to the people of Halifax and I’m honoured to be entrusted with its care. My aim has always been to show we can respect and protect this iconic heritage site, by keeping it vibrant, contemporary and full of life and pushing it into the spotlight so all the world can see what we’re lucky to have right on our doorstep. Unlike many other heritage attractions, The Piece Hall is, and will remain, proudly free to enter.”
“I want to say a huge thank you to the Trust Board, our tenants, patrons and ambassadors and every single member of the team and importantly to everyone who has visited us and helped to make The Piece Hall the success it is today.”
As well as attracting visitors from across Yorkshire and beyond to an array of world-class art exhibitions, A-list pop and rock and dance concerts, large-scale theatrical spectacles and major sporting and community events, the venue has also drawn an abundance of visitors to its unique shops and boutiques and outstanding bars and restaurants housed at the edges of its stunning 66,000 sq ft courtyard.
Chair of The Piece Hall Trust, Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, said:
“These results are testament to the hard work of Nicky and the team and proof that heritage can successfully be used as the currency of the future, bringing big benefits regionally and nationally. Taking lockdown into account, The Piece Hall is averaging 3 million visitors a year.
“It’s been incredibly satisfying to watch the vision for the transformation of The Piece Hall become a reality and to observe the tremendous sense of renewed pride in the area that this has created.
“The Piece Hall will continue to play a role in regeneration and these solid foundations mean it can carry on supporting local people and the local economy while enabling us to preserve and protect this precious international asset which just happens to be in Halifax.”
Word about The Piece Hall is now spreading far and wide, with the team celebrating a combined social media following of beyond 100,000 and significant increases in the number of people signing up for a Piece Hall membership card.
Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council, said:
“The impact that The Piece Hall has had on Calderdale and the wider region over the last five years is phenomenal. It makes a substantial contribution to our economy, community and international profile as the place to be for culture.
“We are seeing a great deal of energy, optimism and creativity in local businesses and our wider communities, who are eager to bounce back from the pandemic. This, and the level of ambition for Calderdale’s future, is clearly reflected in The Piece Hall’s hugely successful gigs season, ongoing events and independent businesses, supporting the Council’s priority to build strong, sustainable towns.
“The Piece Hall embodies the Vision2024 for Calderdale and our new CultureDale brand, which is continuing to develop the borough’s place on the map as a vibrant cultural destination.”
The Piece Hall is incredibly grateful to the Government which has heavily supported its recent success via the Culture Recovery Fund. The organisation received a generous award from the record-breaking £35 million emergency pot set up to help the culture sector overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has become increasingly clear that heritage and culture both play a vital role in supporting both emotional and economic well-being, and this funding has helped the venue to thrive post lockdowns.
David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:
“It’s important to acknowledge how valuable the Culture Recovery Fund has been for the UK’s heritage. It helped a diverse range of heritage organisations from across the country survive, adapt and plan for a brighter future and The Piece Hall is a great example of the importance and success of it. This funding provided a future for much of our heritage when it might otherwise have been permanently lost.”
The Piece Hall is now in the midst of delivering an extensive programme of summer events, most of which are free to attend. Planning is already well underway for an exceptional festive season later in the year and an even bigger and better set of live shows in 2023, adding classical music to its repertoire and cementing its place as a world-class music, arts, culture and heritage venue.