04 May 2014
The beginning is in sight!
As the builders’ work comes to an end at the Old Seacroft Chapel, we are starting to think about things like how the dimmer switches work and where the keys are. But more importantly, we are one step closer to using the place. We’ve talked for long enough about creating the first-ever dedicate arts venue in East Leeds; building it is one thing, welcoming people in to see the place and then starting to organise events and broadcasts—that’s the exciting bit.
The place is looking fabulous: the two broadcast studios are looking swish and the upstairs performance/live room is just stunning. All the windows are in, including the specially commissioned stained glass windows...
The “pew loo” has been created (you’ll have to come and see that one) and the lift means that at last we will have a truly accessible place to work in...
But I just want it finished now! Yes—it’s a few weeks late, but that’s not the issue for me; as I say to everyone, we’ve signed a lease for ninety nine years, what’s the rush! No, the point is that I want it all finished and tidied up because I want to spend a couple of hours sat in the place with a big piece of flip chart paper and a pen. I want to talk about programming.
The plan is that, once the builders hand over the keys, the next set of contractors come in. First-off the organ is fully restored; then the broadcast studios will be installed, the theatre lighting system goes in, the projection system and the remote-controlled TV-studio style camera system; and connect up all the different audio and data cables (my sub-contractor reckons there are 2952 individual cable ends to be soldered to connectors—so it will take a little while). All the work should be finished in July and we are planning a few different events and training sessions over the summer as well as bringing our regular broadcasts over to the Old Chapel. The full launch of Chapel FM will happen in the autumn and we are planning to kick off with an opening season between October and December.
What that opening programme will contain—well that’s why I need to spend some time with my flip chart! Of course the ELFM team have got loads of ideas; we’re planning an opening week of launch events and planning to go back on FM (so you can tune in locally on your radio) in December as well as our regular web-based broadcasting and finishing off with a pre-Christmas twenty four hour musicathon. But as the Chapel turns from a building site into a reality…well it’s time to invite people in to have a look round and see what ideas others come up with for what they would like to bring to Chapel FM or what they would like to see.
From the second half of May we are planning to have Open House Thursdays. Anyone is welcome to come and have a sneaky peak at the place; have a cup of tea with us; and talk about what you would like to see happening in the place—film screenings, performances, workshops, broadcasts, live music, spoken word…
So—if you’d like to take us up on our invitation and come for a bit of a preview of the first-ever arts venue in East Leeds…either on a Thursday or another time if that would be more convenient, get in touch and we’ll get the kettle on!
The carpets are going in upstairs...