TSF and the Goods Shed
TSF currently operates from rented premises in Hexham and hires additional space for rehearsals and storage. These arrangements are far from ideal in terms of the creative process and efficient use of human and financial resources for TSF’s own work. They limit the potential of the company to develop creative partnerships within the town, regionally, nationally and internationally. The need for new premises was identified back in 2006. A number of options was investigated both in and out of Hexham and the Goods Shed, next to Hexham Railway Station, was identified as an ideal base for the company.
The solution – the site, the opportunities
TSF now has advanced plans for the development of a base at the Goods Shed that will become an integral part of the regeneration of the Hexham railway yards, working in partnership with Network Rail and Rokeby Developments. The plan is to bring new life to the Grade II listed Goods Shed as a rehearsal, performance, teaching and production centre for the use of TSF and the Tynedale community. The development of an accessible building will greatly enhance TSF’s capacity to promote its drama and language work with local, regional, national and international clients and would include language learning and an international workshop programme in theatre-making for students and young professional artists from around the world.
The Goods Shed at Hexham Station is strategically sited at the busy northern gateway to the town. It consists of an 1830s Grade II listed Goods Shed to which, in the 1960s, was added a steel frame and brick building which occupies the space between the Goods Shed and a 19th century railway water tank to make a single building originally for Farmways, UKs leading retailer of pet, equine and rural products. The substantial building provides the eastern side of the courtyard in front of the Hexham Station. The building was surplus to needs for Farmways in the late 1990s and has been empty since.
The building provides some 600 square metres of ground floor space with ceiling heights in the 1960s building to allow a 100+ square metre double height rehearsal space as well as storage space. The 1830s Goods Shed provides an opportunity for a dramatic 250 square metre open space which could be for concert, performing arts, exhibition, conference or other community use. There is also sufficient space for a cafe (with possibly outdoor options for summer use) and a space for interpretation and basic tourist information. Toilet and kitchen facilities would also be provided between the two buildings.
To date, the project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Railway Heritage Trust and Network Rail to produce:
- RIBA Stage D Architectural Plans
- a conservation and conservation management plan
- business, activity, volunteer, marketing, fundraising and access plans
- a planning application.
The TSF Board believes that the £1.5 million project provides a wonderful opportunity for developing its own future alongside the provision of a unique resource for arts, heritage, cultural and commercial use by the Hexham community.
However, the TSF Board has considered the financial risks associated with such a project and concluded that the company will need significant assistance to fully realise the project.
TSF is therefore seeking partner(s) who may be interested in sharing the development responsibility, bringing finance, expertise and capacity to the project, in order to unlock the exciting potential of the superb designs from _space Architects. The Stage D RIBA plans and final Conservation Management Plan can be downloaded below.