Jaki Graham officially launched the extraordinary transformation of Symphony Hall’s foyers on Thursday 1 August, alongside Birmingham rapper Lady Sanity and acclaimed pianist, songwriter and globetrotting side man to Sam Smith, Reuben James.
The Birmingham musicians were at the world-renowned music venue in the city centre to celebrate the beginning of this redevelopment which will create a performance space for talented local artists to have even more opportunities to perform as part of a daily programme with free and affordable performances.
Jaki Graham said:
I have had the privilege of performing on stage at Symphony Hall and, as a Birmingham-born artist, it filled me with pride. I’m honoured to be invited to launch this major transformation, which will provide many more talented local musicians the opportunity to perform in this incredible venue”.
The music legend went to school in Ladywood, where much of Town Hall Symphony Hall’s learning and participation output is now focused. Generation Ladywood is a suite of activities that are offered to young people and their families in the Ladywood constituency – an area where 53% of children live in poverty (source: End Child Poverty Coalition, January 2018) and 85.6% of the population fall within the most deprived 20% of areas in England.
The Making an Entrance project is a major transformation of Symphony Hall’s public foyer areas. In addition to a state-of-the-art foyer performance space for free and low-cost activities, there will be dedicated spaces able to host learning and participation projects, and a richer and more welcoming experience including an enhanced food and beverage offer, refurbished toilets, additional disabled WCs and a Space to Change facility.
Town Hall Symphony Hall present a wide-ranging programme of music, comedy and spoken word and with £6 million of Local Growth funding from GBSLEP, the £13.2 million project will mean that even more people can access and enjoy this work.
Nick Reed, Chief Executive for Town Hall Symphony Hall said:
We currently reach over 18,000 people with our learning and community programme and over the coming years we will be able to reach thousands more in the transformed spaces that this project will create. As significant cuts are made to music tuition in our region’s schools, this transformation will support local talent by providing an enhanced space for people to be musically creative”.