RNCM Unveils Refurbished Concert Hall

The RNCM opens the doors to its newly refurbished Concert Hall today (Thursday 6 November) following the completion of a £7.1m redevelopment project.

Established in Manchester in 1972, the RNCM is a world-leading music college and one of the UK’s most diverse public performance venues. Designed by architect Ian Palmer and undertaken by Styles&Wood, the redevelopment included a complete overhaul of the 40-year-old Concert Hall, incorporating new air-conditioning and heating system, new flooring and seating, advanced technical facilities and lighting, and a new balcony and raised floor area to considerably increase capacity. The revamp also welcomed the addition of the Oglesby Balcony, generously supported by The Oglesby Charitable Trust.

Starting in January 2014, the venue refurbishment formed part of a larger redevelopment project that reconfigured the backstage areas of the RNCM Concert Hall and Theatre to include new changing rooms and en-suite dressing rooms alongside new wardrobe and laundry rooms. A student deck, seminar room, conference room and new practice pods were also created, and capacity for the RNCM Lecture Theatre (newly named the Forman Lecture Theatre in honour of Sir Denis Forman following a grant from The Granada Foundation) increased, all to support higher student numbers and provide a professional learning environment at industry standard.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘We are thrilled that the Concert Hall is ready to reopen following an exciting redevelopment project; the extensive work undertaken by Styles&Wood is exceptional and has surpassed all expectations.

‘The RNCM prides itself on offering the very best facilities, not only to aspiring young musicians from all over the world, but also to audiences who recognise the significant position the College holds as one of the UK’s busiest and most diverse public performance venues.

‘It goes without saying that the project would not have come to fruition without the invaluable support of HEFCE, RBS and everyone who backed our Concert Hall campaign, Your RNCM. Since its launch at the beginning of the year we have been overwhelmed by the number of supporters who have given so generously. It is wonderful to know that the work we do here in Manchester is appreciated so highly, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s reaction to the finished project over the coming weeks.’

Talking on behalf of Styles&Wood, Operations Director Paul Lonsdale said: ‘The project included removing 515 tons of waste and bringing in 55 tons of steel through one entrance and we worked closely with the College to ensure a smooth process throughout.

‘Delivering projects in live environments is our specialty. We took great care to ensure that the programme could be completed while the day-to-day activity continued with minimal disruption to staff and students.

‘It’s been fantastic to work on such an important cultural space in Manchester and help provide the College with the fit-for-purpose teaching environment and venue it needs.’

Architect Ian Palmer, who designed the Concert Hall on behalf of BDP, added: ‘The RNCM is a much loved venue, so expectations were extremely high. We wanted the audience to be fully immersed in the performance, as if suspended in an Escher painting. What we have created is a spatial Rubik’s cube that will allow the College to expand its repertoire, confident of a venue that is beautiful, technically outstanding and, most significantly, maintains its unique acoustic qualities.’

5 November 2014