De Montfort Hall
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De Montfort Hall, Leicester
|Owner||Leicester City Council|
|Capacity||400-2,200 (auditorium), 250-7,000 (amphitheater)|
|Current use||Touring Venue|
|Years active||since 1913|
The Hall was built by the Corporation of Leicester in the early 20th century, and was finished in 1913 costing £21,000. The architect was Shirley Harrison (1876–1961) son of Stockdale Harrison, architect of Vaughan College.
Its indoor auditorium seating capacity is approximately 2000, and the hall contains a restored pipe organ believed to be the only surviving example of a large concert organ constructed by the Leicester organ builders, Stephen Taylor & Son Ltd, in 1914. The pipe organ is a particularly fine example and comprises 6000 pipes, attracting many distinguished organists to play recitals. In the 2014 the pipe organ was estimated to be worth over five million GBP.
Most of the Hall's events take place in the indoor auditorium where the programme of events ranges from jazz, ballet, comedy and opera, to world and roots music, West End musicals and classical music, featuring the world-famous Philharmonia Orchestra, which was set up by EMI and has been resident at the hall since 1997. The hall is said by the orchestra to be one of the best spaces in which to play music in England.
The Hall is also a common venue for the Leicester Philharmonic Choir, the Leicester Symphony Orchestra, the Bardi Symphony Orchestra and Bands which have performed several concerts there in the past.
It is also one of the major venues in Leicester to hold the Hindu festival of Navratri, selling out of tickets every year.
Events take place outdoors, including The Big Session Festival and the Summer Sundae music festival, took place every year until 2012.
Bob Dylan played the Hall on May 2nd 1965 during his first tour of England. Dylan was the only artist apart from The Beatles to sell out the De Montfort Hall in the 1960s. Even The Rolling Stones did not sell out this venue.
In the 1990s Leicester City Council took De Montfort Hall off the gig circuit
In 2011, a tribute for Sir Norman Wisdom was held at the venue, raising money for the Roy Castle Fund. The charitable event also raised funds for Grand Order of Water Rats, of which Wisdom was a member, and featured notable appearances from members Bruce Jones, Nicholas Parsons, Johnny Mans, Rick Wakeman and Jess Conrad.
- City Council|History of De Montfort Hall
- Public sculpture of Leicestershire and Rutland - Page 370 Terry Cavanagh, Alison Yarrington - 2000 "-1922) An architect, he designed Leicester's Town Hall, 1873-6 (designs shown at the Royal Academy, London, ... The practice was continued after his death by his sons, James Stockdale Harrison (1874-1952) and Shirley Harrison (1876-1961)"
- Country Life: Volume 194 (2000). In the film, Lord Attenborough has re-enacted that precise moment, even down to the detail of the lecture taking place in Leicester (Grey Owl's lecture tours included many of Britain's major cities).
- "A wonderful tribute to the late, great Sir Norman Wisdom". De Montfort Hall.
- "Johnny Mans Productions - Charity Work". Johnny Mans official website.
- "Tribute to Sir Norman Wisdom at De Montfort Hall, Leicester". Leicester Mercury.[permanent dead link]
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