Our vision is to create a vibrant, cultural hub with an eclectic and inspirational programme of events and activities to appeal to a contemporary, 21st century audience. With a nod to Hadleigh’s cultural heritage, our focus is on providing a venue to showcase new and emerging talent, not just visual, but also performance arts.
Hadleigh Old School is a new venue in Suffolk for entertainment, art shows, music, films, exhibitions and festivals. Our vision is to create a vibrant, cultural hub with an eclectic and inspirational programme of events and activities to appeal to a contemporary, 21st century audience. With a nod to Hadleigh’s cultural heritage, our focus is on providing a venue to showcase new and emerging talent, not just visual, but also performance arts.
Although our plans are ambitious, we shall strictly adhere to government guidelines and follow all health and safety regulations throughout. We shall never comprise on wellbeing of our performers and visitors, actively accommodating disabled access sanitisation and social distancing.
We are a commercial business. Revenues from successful events preserve the building and pay utilities and staff. We aim to follow best practice – whether that be new talent (annual careers day), welcoming diverse audiences, or experimenting with new technology.
Our charity of choice for 2020-21 is Friends of St Mary’s Church Hadleigh. We support as part of Hidden Gardens and one-off donations. We also support dog welfare organisations.
Ian Grutchfield moved to Hadleigh in 1974, and after studying History at the University of Bristol embarked on a career in the media. After managing key brands Wallace and Gromit (Oscar Campaign), Teletubbies (No1 Single Global TV Show) and Doctor Who (Consumer Products and Co-production) he turned to Suffolk and has set up his events business, focusing on music, arts and entertainment.
Matthew Hodges became a regular visitor to Hadleigh in 2006 and moved here full time 2015. His career is in TV program licensing. He has worked for major US studios and more recently independent European production companies. Matthew has a strong interest in performance from big commercial musicals, fringe theatre and drag cabaret.
At Hadleigh Old School, we wish to revive the legacy of the late Thomas McIntosh who, along with his wife Miranda, made the Old School their home and hosted concerts and exhibitions for over 40 years; establishing the Summer Music Festival in 1978 and Opera Anglia in 1989.
Hadleigh has an impressive artistic and cultural history; called Headleage in 527 it was the resting place for Guthrum King of Danes in 889, and one of the most important towns in England in the C15th. Recent Hadleigh residents have included artists Maggi Hambling, Sir Cedric Morris, Lett-Haines. Visitors/Patrons of note include Archbishop Pykenham. Caneletto, Constable and Gainsborough.
With its vaulted hammer beam ceiling the hall at the Old School can boast exceptional acoustics – the school architect was Frederick Barnes who designed in an era predating artificial amplification. Windows were added to the building in the Twentieth Century, many facing East and thus ideal for natural light. The former playgrounds became a walled garden with lawns and shrubbery – ideal for al fresco hospitality eg during a concert interval.
Bridge Street Boy’s School
Hadleigh Old School began its life as Bridge Street Boy’s School, opened in 1853. It comprised at that time an open hall with one small classroom. Various changes were made over the years, including a major refurbishment in 1915.
The building was further altered in the 1950’s, but ceased to function as a school in 1968.