Pop-up exhibition coming to new arts and entertainment venue

The Old School in Hadleigh is hosting a pop-up art exhibition to mark National Heritage Day on Satur

The Old School in Hadleigh is hosting a pop-up art exhibition to mark National Heritage Day on Saturday. Picture: JUNIPER PR - Credit: Archant

A pop-up art exhibition is going to be held this weekend at a historic former school in Hadleigh to reveal future plans as a ‘cultural hub’.

Ian Grutchfield is the venue director and co-owner of the Old School in Bridge Street, Hadleigh. Pic

Ian Grutchfield is the venue director and co-owner of the Old School in Bridge Street, Hadleigh. Picture: JUNIPER PR - Credit: Archant

The Old School Hadleigh in Bridge Street was granted permission in July to be used as a leisure venue and concert hall after co-owner and venue director Ian Grutchfield applied for a change of use.

MORE: Old school to become concert hall again and ‘rejuvenate market town’

Mr Grutchfiled returned to his home town of Hadleigh in 2015 following a successful career in TV and is hosting the venue’s inaugural event on Saturday, September 12, to mark National Heritage Open Day and exhibit the work of local artist Cris Coe.

Mr Coe lives in Chattisham and has recently created a series of artworks featuring refugees and civilians impacted by the ravages of civil war in Syria – he is also inspired by the Suffolk countryside and the intricacy of nature.

The sculpture 'Music Plays On Through War' will be featured in the exhibition and was made as part o

The sculpture 'Music Plays On Through War' will be featured in the exhibition and was made as part of a serious created by Cris Coe about the ravages of the civil war in Syria. Picture: JUNIPER PR - Credit: Archant

“It is a dream come true and a great privilege to become the latest custodian of the Old School and to have the opportunity to revive the legacy of Thomas McIntosh, as well as creating a cultural hub to appeal to a contemporary audience,” Mr Grutchfield said.

“We are naturally keen to actively involve the local community in developing our vision for the future of this building.

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“Our plans are ambitious, but in this different world, we will naturally adhere to all official safety guidelines.”

The Old School was purchased in 1976 by Thomas McIntosh, an international concert pianist, who went on to found the East Anglian Summer Music Festival in 1978 and Opera Anglia in 1989 – attracting audiences to Hadleigh from far and wide.

The event on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm, is planned not only to showcase Mr Coe’s work, but also to reveal plans to develop the venue as a ‘cultural hub’ and seek suggestions from the local community about events they would like to attend and participate in.

A number of events have now been planned for the new year including music concerts, art exhibitions, fashion styling and cabaret nights.

The first scheduled event is due to be held on January 2 with a Poetry Slam featuring the contemporary poet John McCullough – winner of the 2020 Hawthornden prize for literature for Reckless Paper Birds.

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