Chapel FM in Seacroft to hold three week festival of art, culture and broadcast to celebrate completion of £640,000 renovation
When it first opened its doors more than 170 years ago, a Methodist Chapel in Seacroft was to become a central place of activity and community spirit.
In time it fell by the wayside and into a state of disrepair.
But over the last few years it has found a new purpose with the same values as it stood for back in the day.
It is home to Chapel FM Arts and over the last 12 months, despite COVID, an ambitious renovation project has been taking place to make sure that the building and the project can continue to bring the art of reading, creative writing, music, performance and radio broadcasting - as well as other community orientated events to east Leeds.
To mark the completion of the £640,000 catalogue of works - which has seen a new community café, flexible hall for arts workshops and performances, a reading library featuring the work of local writers, outdoor seating, an innovative ground source heating system, integrated video streaming systems and the ability to host a wider range of rentals and events - a three week celebration festival with more that 20 events will take place later this month.
From September 23 to October 9 the “Good to Go” celebration will include podcast and radio shows presented in front of live studio audiences; a three-day creative writing on the radio festival; Writing on Air, featuring original work by more than 60 local writers on the theme of Vision; interactive art installation on the Seacroft Village Green, the Fellowship of
Questions Cube; ribbon-cutting ceremony with a giant bird puppet parade and guided local history walking tours; live music, theatre and storytelling performances; exhibit by celebrated Leeds photographer Peter Mitchell; film screening of the legendary Yorkshire classic Kes; special day of activities and local oral history gathering with older residents in community as part of Air to Care radio project; launch of our new Burke’s Books Community Library featuring a wide range of books by local writers and East Leeds’ first public Little Free Library; workshops on music, storytelling, making radio shows and creative writing and more.
For instance, in November Chapel FM will be bringing a group of teenage broadcasters to Glasgow for the COP26 Climate Summit to create radio documentaries as part of its Red Kite youth podcast.
Chapel FM also works closely with third sector arts and community partners in relationships formed during the Covid pandemic such as the Seacroft Community Hub (including LS14 Trust, Kentmere Community Centre, Fall into Place Theatre, Seacroft Friends and Neighbours and Seacroft Community on Top) and the East Leeds Triangle (working with Space 2 and the East Leeds Project to explore ideas about the past and future of East Leeds).
Tony Macaluso, Chapel FM director said: “We are thrilled to open the doors to the magical new Chapel FM Arts Centre to the community and the wider world in order to bring artists, storytellers, activists, media makers together with residents to share their visions for the future of East Leeds. The newly renovated Chapel FM is designed to be a bustling, joyful shared space where new ideas and collaborations can take flight.”
The Chapel FM renovation and expansion was made possible by support from Arts Council England, The Biffa Award, The Clothworkers Foundation, Leeds City Council, Power to Change, Veolia Trust and The Tudor Trust. The redevelopment was designed by Matt Strong Architect and built by contractors Roebuck & Holmes.