REDEVELOPMENT: THE BIG VISION
After over 30 years of meetings, planning and building, Guiseley Town Hall was officially opened on the 26th December 1867 to the sound of Handels 'Messiah'. Now, over 150 years later, this magnificent building starts its next chapter.
Guiseley Theatre (née Guiseley Town Hall) has a fascinating and rich history of meeting the needs of the ever changing community of Guiseley. Ever since the initial idea of the building in 1836, it has had the weight of the people of Guiseley behind it, including famous Guiseleyites such as Abraham Moon, Matthew Corbett and Barney Colehan, who all have their very own stories intertwined in the building.
However, we owe the creation of the building to another, not so well known Guiseleyite. Sir Matthew William Thompson is the man who spearheaded the building of Guiseley Theatre. Thompson rallied up the people of Victorian Guiseley asking for Subscriptions and donations from the town, from as little as a shilling, raising a total of £373. Thompson then paid the remaining £2548 needed to complete the building, and on the 26th December 1867, declared Guiseley Town hall open and, crucially, gifted the deeds "for the use of the inhabitants of Guiseley forever" and insisted that this building be a place where every person felt they 'had the right to be there, regardless of politics, religion or belief'.
Since then, Guiseley Theatre has been at the heart of the community through coronations, wars, celebrations, meetings, events and theatre, creating memories for generations of Guiseley people.
Guiseley Theatre CIC now runs and operates the building and has radical plans to redevelop this wonderful community hub and make the building fit to serve the Guiseley community in the 21st century. We are on the verge of an ambitious new phase in the life of the theatre and as Matthew William Thompson did in the 1800's, we will be appealing to the people of Guiseley and the surrounding area to help make this happen.
Continuing Thompson's vision, Guiseley Theatre CIC are dedicated to making this building a place where everyone feels they have the right to be there, a place that the inhabitants of Guiseley feel they can take ownership of and a place that the community can use and engage with through high quality culture and art. This is reflected in the company aims:
SO WHERE NEXT?
Guiseley Theatre CIC are in the process of applying for a long lease from Leeds City Council who own the building which would enable major renovations to occur. This is a lengthy process which involves fundraising, structural and electrical surveys, negotiations and requires public support.
Listed below are the initial concept plans that Guiseley Theatre CIC have collated, detailing where they see the building to be in the future as a target for redevelopment. These drawings will ultimately be passed to architects to be realised and will undoubtedly change through out the process, but they give an indication as to the ideas of how the building could be developed. On each plan below, the existing building footprint is outlined in red.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Your feedback, comments and suggestions will be vital to the success of this redevelopment. With real effort and awareness, we can build momentum to bring these plans to fruition. If you have any thoughts regarding our vision, please share them below, or contact us via the contact page.
If you require any further information, or are inspired by our passion and want to help these plans come to light, then get in touch to discuss volunteering with the theatre, or donating to our cause.
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