GRASSINGTON Town Hall is set to reopen with an exciting programme of events and concerts following seven months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The October to December programme features live recordings from the Royal Opera House, including the ballet Giselle, October 22; The Nutcracker, December 10; Macbeth, December 1, and a Christmas concert by the City of Bradford Bass Band on December 20.

The town hall has been refurbished during the last few months, and will reopen with Covid safe measures in place - events will take place in the hall and not the smaller Octagon Theatre, to ensure social distancing, and there will be table service only for refreshments.

The stage in the main hall has been totally dismantled, and essential repair work was carried out to the overhead structures. New LED lighting, and new, ‘front of house’ curtains installed.

A membership scheme has also been launched, for £24 per year, in a bid to raise regular income for the town hall, and to help pay for repairs and maintenance.

David Wood, chairman of the trustees of the Grassington Devonshire Institute, said the membership scheme was also meant to offer those who signed up a little bit of ‘special consideration’ should they wish to use the hall’s facilities or hire parts of the building. There will also be a monthly members’ draw, with a current prize of £50.

“The town hall costs around £35,000 per annum just to keep it open and there is a significant repair and maintenance programme, evidenced through independent building condition surveys in 2018 and 2019, which needs to be funded. The income to cover these costs has to be raised from hires, event ticket sales, and now membership.

“We believe that the town hall is, arguably, the biggest asset we have in Grassington, playing host, in many different ways, to the diversity of groups, charities, annual events and daily activities which characterise this beautiful part of the Dales.”

Mr Wood said the five pre-Christmas events were in many ways ‘experimental’.

“We have had to undertake a detailed risk assessment to ensure that we comply with the coronavirus-related rules relating to public buildings. They will all take place in the main hall, rather than the Octagon in the case of the opera and ballet screenings, as this offers better opportunity for social distancing whilst allowing more people to attend. We hope people will find them of interest, and we will be working to bring a fuller programme for 2021.”

To find out more, including membership details and booking events, visit: grassington