Songwriter and broadcaster Tom Robinson is among the world-renowned musicians and artists lined-up to perform at Coventry’s newest music venue.
Drapers’ Hall, in Bayley Lane is opening this Autumn as a venue for music and music education following a £5m restoration project led by Historic Coventry Trust in partnership with Coventry City Council.
Tom Robinson, who hosts weekly shows on BBC Radio 6 Music and has released over 20 albums either as a solo artist or as part of a band, will be the first to take to the stage in the magnificent new venue on Thursday, November 11 at 8pm, presenting his solo show.
He will be followed by the talented young Swedish violinist Johan Dalene on Sunday, November 21 at 2pm and award-winning saxophonist and finalist in the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year Jess Gillam on Thursday, November 25 at 8pm.
Stratford-based Orchestra of the Swan, Coventry University’s Orchestra in Residence, will be performing on Friday, November 26 at 8pm, while internationally-known harpist Catrin Finch will be adding to the recitals she has given throughout the world on Sunday, November 28 at 8pm.
Tuba player and composer Theon Cross will perform on Saturday, December 4 at 8pm.
The Grade II* listed Drapers’ Hall is the finest Regency building in the city and was built in 1832 by the Drapers Guild as a place to entertain Coventry’s high society. The building has been preserved unused by the Council whilst awaiting a new use for over 30 years and is a time capsule of Regency splendour. Historic Coventry Trust have been granted a 250-year lease by the Council and will manage the building as a home for Coventry Music Service and a music and events venue.
The major restoration project has been supported by the Prince’s Foundation as one of seven projects for the Prince of Wales’s 70th birthday. Funding has been provided by the Council through its Cultural Capital programme for UK City of Culture with substantial support from, and funding from, Arts Council England and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, via the Government’s Local Growth Fund and the Getting Building Fund.
Further funding has been provided by Garfield Weston Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, Foyle Foundation, the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, Swire Charitable Trust, London and Coventry Drapers Guilds, Alan Edward Higgs Charity, 29th May 61 Charitable Trust, Backstage Trust, Architectural Heritage Fund and Allchurches Trust.
Dr Geoff Willcocks, Vice-Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, said:
“As a heritage development trust, the purpose of Historic Coventry Trust is to restore the city’s historic buildings and put them back to work for the benefit of its people. Drapers’ Hall is a perfect example of how we do this.
“Empty and without a purpose for over 30 years, this building now has a function that will see it making a positive impact on the lives of those living in the city.
“On a personal level, I have been working on this project for eleven years, and I am absolutely thrilled that this building is now complete and making a positive social and cultural contribution to the life of the city.”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said:
“Drapers’ Hall will host performances from musicians from around the world, as well as providing a rehearsal and learning space for the incredible local talent in Coventry and Warwickshire. It’ll be one of the many exciting legacies of Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.”
Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member with responsibilities for heritage in the city, said:
“This is excellent news. Draper’s Hall has been carefully restored to recognise the great history of the building and it will be a wonderful occasion to see it completed and used as a music performance venue, and for music education for local children.
“This is one of many redevelopment projects bringing cultural and historical buildings back to life for local people and visitors to enjoy.”
Hannah Pierce, Programmer and General Manager of Drapers’ Hall, added:
“We are delighted to present this season of shows, supported by the Arts Council, as our inaugural programme. Each performance has been carefully chosen to sit within our new and intimate performance space. These are shows that embody quality, a breadth of musical experience and, most importantly to us, inspire the people of Coventry.”
Helen Peters, chair of the CWLEP’s culture and tourism business group, said:
“It is fantastic news that this wonderful old building has been brought back to life to benefit people living in the region as well as attracting visitors which will further raise Coventry’s profile during UK City of Culture 2021 and boost the economy.”
Tickets for all the shows are available at www.drapershallcoventry.org.uk