Calverley Old Hall seeks creatives for theatre-type project

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By Anne Akers

With Calverley’s Old Hall due to re-open this year following major refurbishment, Landmark Trust, the owners, are commissioning a £13,000 project to help design and deliver workshops about the hall and its history.

Landmark has appealed for a freelance creative practitioner and theatre company to deliver the Crafting Cultures project, which will focus on the revival of the hall. The project will offer a varied programme of activities based on the £1.6m refurbishment, discoveries made during the work and the hall’s past including the Calverley murders.    

As well as the restoration and history, the project will include:

  • A community programme focussed on bringing together local residents, refugees, disenfranchised young people and the heritage world.     
  • The creation of the holiday let to sleep 10, a community base, garden, and residential flat.
  • A craft training programme giving people chance to learn new skills    
Calverley Old Hall

The proposed workshops will be offered to people in the wider Leeds and Bradford areas to help raise awareness of heritage and history and take the form of a performance, audio recording, a piece of creative writing, poetry performance or display of some sort.

Landmark says the workshops should aim to explore the circumstances around the Calverley murders, touching on themes such as mental health, gambling and debt, legal/justice systems, journalism and press coverage exploring the historic events in a way that is meaningful to audiences now.

The project is offering £8,500 to the freelance practitioners and associated artists, with £2,500 for materials and equipment and outcome costs (event/display etc) of £2,000. Full details are on the website. The closing date for expressions of interest is January 15.

Calverley Old Hall, on Woodhall Road, is a grade 1* listed building, dates back to the 12th century. It developed to become a Tudor hall of some importance and owned by the family who gave their name to the village.

However following the murders in 1607 and the family being on the wrong side in the catholic/protestant conflicts, it was eventually sold, divided up and being used as a farm and living quarters for centuries before being partly destroyed by fire in the 1970s.

The Landmark Trust bought the hall in 1981. It was partly developed as holidays lets, though was very rundown and put on English Heritage’s At Risk register. It was thanks to the £1.6m grant from the Lottery in 2021 that the hall was saved and now after three years of work, it will be ready to re-open as a holiday let to sleep 10, with a room for the local community.

During the renovations, rare Tudor wall paintings were discovered behind the modern plaster. Landmark also hosted craft events and open days for the local community to see the ongoing work.

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