Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Appoints New Director

Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Appoints New Director: Erik Knudsen (Chair of Trustees at Square Chapel Centre for the Arts) announced to staff that David McQuillan has been appointed Director of the arts centre.

McQuillan, who has been with and grown alongside the organisation for the past 13 years, started in 2003 as Outreach Officer. Being part of a small team of five gave McQuillan (then aged 23) the chance to be hands on and learn about all aspects of the business and the community it serves. From utilising his Fine Arts Degree, and experience to teach members of the community oil painting techniques to securing large funding bids to help the organisation progress.

Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Appoints New Director

Square Chapel Centre for the Arts Appoints New Director

In 2009 as Development Manager (aged 30) he started work securing funding for Square Chapel’s £6.6m redevelopment project. A project that saw work commence in September 2015. He was also the lead for the £3.8M project to build Orangebox – the State-of-the-art Young People’s Centre in Halifax –in which Square Chapel is a primary partner.

Converted from a disused fruit and veg market on Thomas Street (which also played a part in the naming of the centre – Orangebox), the centre opened its door to the young people of Calderdale in September 2013. It welcomes around 10,000 people a year who use the climbing wall, recording studios, rehearsal rooms, IT suites, meeting spaces, dedicated art room, rooftop skatepark and café.

Square Chapel Director, David McQuillan said: “It’s probably slightly unusual to work at one place for so long, but then, Square Chapel is a wonderfully unusual place. Sometimes you find an organisation where the values and ethos just resonate with your own and over the last 13 years I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. I started working in the outreach team and quickly learnt the combination of community involvement and the highest quality professional art that has been fundamental to the success of Square Chapel. It’s this blend of engagement and excellence in a space that is both, safe and exciting, welcoming and experimental, that makes Square Chapel so vibrant. We’re very lucky to work in such a historically important building, but it’s the great team of people: staff, volunteers, friends and partners who give the place its soul and who, in this beautiful stone town, provide this beautiful red brick beating heart. I am thrilled and feel especially privileged to be appointed Director of this amazing place at such an exciting time.”

Square Chapel Chair of Trustees, Professor Erik Knudsen, said: “David has made a significant contribution to the development and management of Square Chapel over the past 13 years. During this time he has demonstrated the breadth and depth of his skills and knowledge of running a successful performing arts centre. In applying for the Director’s post, David demonstrated to the Trustees his ability to set high standards and his inspirational ambition for the organisation, including innovative ideas and plans for engaging staff, key stakeholders, the volunteer community and audiences. We are also thrilled to have in David a Director who has the required experience to enable him to make important contributions to leading and managing our significant new building developments at Square Chapel. The Board of Trustees are excited to be entering this new period of Square Chapel’s history with David McQuillan as its new Director.”

Work has commenced on the Square Chapel redevelopment project. The new build will transform the venue by creating a new extension and improved facilities for everyone who uses the thriving arts and community venue. The space will include an intimate 108 seater multi-purpose cinema/studio and theatre space for film screenings, performances and workshops; new dressing rooms, improved toilets; a dedicated space for its committed volunteers; and a café-bar area where they will serve locally sourced food and drink. There will also be a direct access into The Piece Hall’s interpretation centre creating a seamless cultural quarter in the heart of Halifax.

The project is on track to be completed by the summer of 2017 with a full programme of events to launch in the autumn of that year. Between July and September 2016, the centre will close to allow the builders access to the main space. During the month of September, Square Chapel will continue to showcase work but at site specific spaces with their exciting ‘Other Rooms’ events.

Square Chapel Director, David McQuillan said: “For over 25 years our beautiful, historic auditorium has been at the heart of what we do here at Square Chapel; but we’ve always engaged with the community outside of our four walls. This September we will be programming for the first time without access to our own beautiful room and we’ll be taking that Square Chapel magic to other venues in the town centre. With the support of Film Hub North, the British Film Institute and in partnership with Live Cinema UK and a range of performers and artist, we’ll be producing an exciting programme of screenings and events in restaurants, hotels, gyms, cafés, abandoned buildings and woodlands. We’ll be releasing the full programme over the coming months, so keep your eyes peeled for Square Chapel in ‘Other Rooms’ across Halifax.”

Square Chapel is a place of many stories, not only within the contents of their bustling building and brilliant programme of work, but they story of the centre itself. Back in 1988, six local people paid £25 for a ruined building and set about their dream of restoring it and converting it to a vibrant arts centre for the people of Calderdale and beyond. It’s a story filled with hope, triumph and humanity.

Millions of pounds have been raised and countless hours of time and energy have been freely given to ensure Square Chapel survives. It is an amazing story of hard work and determination, which still continues. There have been many achievements, lots of happy memories, and much laughter. It is a great triumph to reach this point, and as Square Chapel continues to grow, with its new director – the future looks brighter and bigger than ever.

Elliot Simmonds

Elliot Simmonds

Managing Editor at Pennine Business News
Elliot Simmonds is the Managing Editor of Pennine Business News. His key focus is on promoting the site to businesses across the North of England and the UK. He retains an active involvement in producing content for the site and contributes a range of articles to the site.

With around eight years' experience working in both marketing and market research, Elliot works extensively with small businesses to develop their marketing strategy as a consultant when away from PBN.

He has featured as PR and market expert on the Guardian Small Business, judged the UK Blog Awards in 2014, and was short listed as Stockport Young Business Person of the Year in the same year.
Elliot Simmonds

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *