Arts venue set for gala launch

Ian McMillan
Ian McMillan

BARNSLEY poet Ian McMillan will be the special guest at the official opening of New Mills’ newest community arts venue.

Around £750,000 has been spent on transforming the Grade II Listed St James the Less chapel into the renamed Spring Bank Arts Centre, which opened in May but will receive its official launch during a gala event tomorrow lunchtime (Friday).

Rohan McCullough. Photo contributed.

Rohan McCullough. Photo contributed.

As well as speeches from the chairman of the building’s preservation trust and a representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund, a specially-invited gathering of guests will be treated to music from New Mills Business and Enterprise School Sixth Form pupils Sean Rogan and Poppy Philligreen.

Forthcoming attractions at the Spring Bank venue include the launch of a monthly programme of film screenings, the first of which takes place tonight (Thursday) at 7.30pm.

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As part of The Big Draw, a national celebration of drawing, the centre will be holding a free event for people of all ages to go along and try their hand at the craft, between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday.

The event will be led by artist Linda Moss, and materials will be provided.

The first in a series of Sunday afternoon concerts begins on October 14, at 3pm, when the talented young Gildas Quartet will perform works by Haydn, Britten and Dvorak. Promoted by New Mills-based John Whibley’s ‘Holidays with Music’, tickets for this, priced £15 (£9 for Friends of Spring Bank members), are available on 01663 746578.

New Mills Band will perform a traditional programme of music on Wednesday October 17, at 7.30pm, joined by talented local singer Eleanor Stevens. Tickets for this are £5.

On Saturday October 20, at 7.30pm, Spring Bank Arts has been fortunate to book international actress Rohan McCullough, who will perform her latest one-woman play ‘My Darling Clemmie’.

Taking on the role of Clementine Churchill, she explores the remarkable and often tumultuous voyage of Winston and his ever-supportive wife through the wars and political turmoil of the 20th century.

It is scripted by Rohan’s husband Hugh Whitemore, writer of the Emmy award-winning screenplay The Gathering Storm. Tickets for this are priced £13 (concessions £11).

And on Sunday October 21, at 2.30pm, Hayfield Singers, along with international mezzo soprano Emily Howard and keyboard players Roger Briscoe and Jonathan Holland, will present a varied programme, starting with Christmas Music from The Messiah and including works by Haydn, Tippet, Faure and Rossini.

Tickets are priced £7 (£6 for concessions and centre members).

Where applicable, tickets for Spring Bank Arts Centre events can be obtained from The High Street Bookshop in New Mills (opposite The Cobbler’s Shop).