Music charity hitting the right note

L-R: Ted Francis-Smith, Ruth Boulton and Tim Boulton from MusicAbility Foundation outside of the new 10 Parade Building in Penzance

Plans to redevelop one of Penzance’s historic buildings and turn it into a vibrant music centre are being drawn up by local charity MusicAbility Foundation.

The foundation exists to enrich people’s lives by providing flexible, inclusive multi-musical opportunities. The charity promotes participation in music through performance, rehearsals, education, and other related events, in addition to providing a self-contained music therapy facility. It operates with a team of ten trustees who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the charity.

Trustee Ted Francis-Smith holds one of the top jobs for double bass players in the world as member of the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

He said: “We estimate building work at 10 Parade Street, Penzance might take up to five years.

“We are working in partnership with The Architectural Heritage Fund  to sensitively restore the building to its former glory and update it for modern day use. They are currently funding an extensive feasibility study which will consider all aspects of the development including restoration of the building and benefit to the local community.”

MusicAbility acquired 10 Parade Street thanks to a generous donation and the first stage in the development of the organisation’s new building was the creation of a well-equipped and dedicated music therapy room.

The facility has now been up and running for over a year, meeting the needs of individuals and families and MusicAbility has been working closely with local schools, social care, and mental health services.

The next stage is to create a second music therapy space to allow level access for wheelchair users and clients with mobility needs. Following a break in service caused by the pandemic, regeneration of the building will also enable MusicAbility to restart music therapy groups.

Considerations being made include an extension into the existing car park recreating the original footprint of the listed building. This will house a new public-facing entrance looking out to the Acorn Theatre, and with The Exchange gallery just along the road, the new music centre will create a small arts quarter in the centre of Penzance.

“I’m delighted that 10 Parade Street is being brought back to life as a music centre.” said director of Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, James Green. “It will contribute significantly to raising Penzance’s profile as a major centre for cultural excellence, and more specifically as a place where the arts are used to support personal development, wellbeing, and wider social change, at a time when this is so needed.

“The venue will lead to many new fruitful collaborations between Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, MusicAbility, and the wider creative community in Penwith.”