Hall for Cornwall raised the curtain on its three-year £26 million transformation last night with the launch of its world premiere production, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical.

The 175-year-old Grade II* listed former Truro City Hall has been taken back to its bare bones over the last three years and completely rebuilt.

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There was a standing ovation to last night’s premiere and a great public reception

It includes the brand new, three-tiered Cornwall Playhouse auditorium with 1,352 seats (300 more than previously), new bars, cafés and public spaces.

Julien Boast, CEO and Creative Director at Hall for Cornwall said: “This has been a hugely exciting project, carried out under extraordinary circumstances, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be welcoming the people of Cornwall back through our doors. We can’t wait to enthral audiences with the shows we have lined up for the season ahead and to start making memories together.

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“I would like to extend my personal thanks to all our public funders and the army of supporters, donors, businesses, trusts and foundations who have made this transformation possible.”

Truro and Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory said: “The reopening of Hall for Cornwall will be a huge boost to Truro’s post-pandemic recovery and high street bounce-back by bringing 300,000 people to the city centre every year, generating millions of pounds for the local economy and entertaining audiences from across Cornwall and beyond.”

Linda Taylor, Leader of Cornwall Council, said: “Hall for Cornwall is a venue and resource for all of Cornwall to enjoy which is why the council has been such a major supporter of this transformative project. I’m particularly excited by the prospects for young people in Cornwall to be inspired by culture and the arts at a time when Cornwall has been longlisted for UK City of Culture 2025.”

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Get Creative, is Hall for Cornwall’s new community, education and youth programme aiming to involve over 50,000 young people across Cornwall in the next five years, and welcoming 10,000 young people of all ages through its doors.

A new digital business hub, Husa, will open later in the year, with offices to let and co-working hot desks aimed at digital businesses and creatives.

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And its history and heritage programme will shine a light on the building’s rich history with an online collection of items, memorabilia and stories, with displays and artist commissions telling heritage stories within the theatre itself.

Hall for Cornwall’s first show, Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, is a brand-new show and the first to be co-produced by the Hall’s in-house production company, Cornwall Playhouse Productions. The musical charts the rise of Port Isaac’s famous sea shanty group from their major record deal signed in 2010, to playing Glastonbury’s iconic Pyramid Stage.

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With Hall for Cornwall’s new auditorium having 300 extra seats, it is able to attract larger shows and has already lined up a packed inaugural programme with hit West End musicals, live music, drama, comedy, adventure and shows for all the family. There are no fewer than 43 shows scheduled between now and the end of April, with tickets on sale this week.

In line with Hall for Cornwall’s drive to make theatre more accessible, tickets for most shows start from £15.

When Hall for Cornwall closed for refurbishment on 2nd June 2018, the plan was to reopen in 2020. But the onset of the pandemic and a succession of lockdowns pushed back that opening by a year.

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But yesterday at 5pm Hall for Cornwall reopened its doors for the first time in 1,229 days, or 175 weeks. It is projected that the redevelopment will add an extra £35.6 million to Cornwall’s economy and create 165 additional jobs* by 2025/26. * Oxford economics report.

Hall for Cornwall operates as a charity, with all surpluses invested in working with communities and young people, increasing the impact of Cornish creative industries, and creating co-productions with Cornish and national partners.

Its transformation has been jointly funded by Arts Council England, Cornwall Council, European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, HM Treasury, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the Culture Recovery Fund and the Getting Building Fund.

Call the Box Office on 01872 262 466 or book online at www.hallforcornwall.co.uk.