A remarkable story of turning a dream into reality

Hall for Cornwall book by authors Chris Warner & Sarah Smith

Hall for Cornwall: A Montage of Memories

by Chris Warner & Sarah Smith

This book is about how a group of people had a dream - a state of the art 1,000 seat theatre and concert hall for Cornwall – and how they managed against all the odds to turn their dream into a reality.

It is stories like these that, in their retelling, have the power to inspire others to start similar journeys. This book should be read by anyone who also has a dream because it will equip them with an understanding of what it takes to triumph over the naysayers, the planners and the challenges of fundraising on a large scale.

This is Chris Warner’s and Sarah Smith’s story of how the Hall for Cornwall was conceived, the fun and the frustrations, the tears and tantrums and the love and laughter of the its gestation and how this intrepid group managed to turn their dream into a remarkable reality.

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

By Edgar Albert Guest

Published By

WarnerSmith Publishing

Reviews of Hall for Cornwall

“I have just read your delightful piece and it is charming and very kind. Your efforts have been so influential for Cornwall and we are all in your debt for the achievement. I like reading this stuff because it roots it in the reality of the slog of the effort and the weather systems of hope and despair that of necessity accompany every step of the way.”

Sir Tim Smit KBE

“...such an interesting read, beautifully presented, it was fascinating to hear all the contributors' own recollections and fun stories. The Hall for Cornwall really is a tremendous achievement, despite everything (and everyone) you were up against. Being unaware of what goes on behind the scenes it was most enlightening, although heaven knows where you all found the positive energy to see it through.”

Fiona Forrest

“I shall always treasure (Hall for Cornwall) for exactly what it is 'a Montage of Memories' from one of the most special and enjoyably concentrated periods of my life. By this I mean not being the ‘soloist’ in endless places round the world but doing something for a greater cause involving lots of other people and best of all in one specific place, beloved Cornwall.”

Benjamin Luxon CBE

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A Montage of Memories

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Meet the authors

Chris Warner

Chris Warner

Chris’s first love was the theatre and after completing the technical course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School he wangled his way into the West End working as a stage hand and an electrician in several London theatres before realising that he wanted to work with actors rather than as a technician.

So he did a degree in drama, radio and television at Bristol University and his break came at the Northcott Theatre where he directed several plays before moving to Cornwall in 1969 in order to work Cornwall County Council as the Administrator at Piran Round, where all three Cornish Mystery Plays were performed for the first time in five hundred years.

After Piran he worked for Sam Wannamaker as the General Manager of the embryonic Globe Playhouse Trust and then as an Assistant Director at the Royal Court Theatre.

Cornwall and a young family had however become his second loves and he started a sailing school at Loe Beach on the Fal. Out of the blue, he was asked to direct a production of Verdi’s Rigoletto for Duchy Opera and he subsequently became their Artistic Director. After directing a number of operas over the years, he persuaded Benjamin Luxon to sing Papageno in a Duchy Opera touring production of The Magic Flute. After experiencing first-hand the lack of a decent middle scale venue in Cornwall they started the Hall for Cornwall Campaign.

Chris became the first Artistic Director of the new Hall which opened in 1997. He then moved on to become the Director of the Cornwall Youth Music Action Zone for five years before returning to his native Suffolk where he was the Director of Suffolk Artlink.

Now retired, he lives in the Waveney Valley with five spaniels.

Sarah Smith 2022 copy

Sarah Smith

Sarah is a professional business manager, with over 35 years’ experience running organisations in both the private and public sectors. In 2008 she was awarded an MBA from the University of Liverpool.
As a Director of Elev8 Ltd she specialises in business development and project management providing strategic advice to organisations. Over the past few years, she has really enjoyed working on the development and delivery of capital projects in the arts and education sectors.

Significant projects include Project Director for the refurbishment of Bristol Old Vic’s Georgian auditorium, rehearsal rooms and back of house completed in 2012 and her current project as Heritage Project Coordinator working on the delivery of the National Lottery Heritage Fund Lantern Project as part of the transformation of Bristol Beacon.
Prior to this, roles included Development Manager, General Manager and, for three years, CEO of Bristol Old Vic which she loved. There is nothing quite like working with a passionate team of specialists in a producing theatre company which is steeped in history. Her love for working in venues began at Hall for Cornwall as General Manager and Fundraising Director of the Hall for Cornwall Trust based at City Hall Truro in Cornwall. A hall that a small team of people transformed into a multipurpose, theatre space for the people of Cornwall which opened in 1997. It was a very special moments of her life.
Sarah is Chair of Tobacco Factory Arts Trust since 2012 a venue that is over 20 years old and is proud that it has grown in reputation as a significant regional theatre.

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Hall for Cornwall

A Montage of Memories

Chris Warner & Sarah Smith

Hall for Cornwall book by authors Chris Warner & Sarah Smith

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