Chetham’s is the largest specialist music school in the UK with capacity for 300 students between the ages of eight and 18, many of whom are funded by bursaries from the government’s Music and Dance Scheme. It is also the only one situated in the north of England and its facilities include the state-of-the-art Stoller Hall.
The Stoller is only three years old but has earned an international reputation for its excellent acoustics, especially for the performance of chamber music. Jazz, folk and contemporary concerts have also featured there, and it has become a popular recording space, but it has been closed to audiences since lockdown last March.
The £150,000 the Stoller Hall will receive from the government’s rescue fund will go towards creating a full programme of live events for Spring 2021, building upon the live stream concerts being broadcast through the Autumn. It will also allow the hall to be re-opened for recording sessions.
The Stoller Hall’s General Manager Fran Healey said, ‘After months of uncertainty, we are overjoyed today. This funding will help protect our special venue, secure the jobs of the core team and help us to play our part in the culture sector’s long road to recovery. As a live music venue in the heart of one of the UK’s biggest cities, we’re a vital part of an ecosystem which includes musicians and concert audiences. We exist together, or not at all.’
Chetham’s library on the same campus is Manchester’s oldest building and will celebrate its 600th anniversary in 2021. In all that time, it has never been closed for as long as it has this year. A registered museum, it is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, containing priceless collections.
The loss of public tours and reading room access has damaged the library’s financial stability so the £66,000 grant provides a much-needed lifeline.
‘This funding will help us develop our new public programme as we plan to welcome back visitors, once it is safe to do so,’ said Fergus Wilde, Chetham’s Librarian. ‘We can also continue to provide vital, specialist care for our irreplaceable collection and our historic site, conserving our priceless heritage for future generations.’