After an intensive few months preparing the ground, the steels have arrived and the Holroyd Community Theatre is now literally taking shape.

Set in the grounds of Moreton Hall School, near Oswestry, the £1.45 million Arts venue will provide a flexible and exciting performance space for artists from across the region. The erection of the steels marks the moment when the years of planning and fundraising begin to become a reality.

For drivers travelling on the A5 near the Gledrid roundabout, the impressive outline of the 290 seat auditorium is already visible as the 32 tonnes of steel which make up the columns, beams and rafters of the portal frame are put in place.

The Holroyd Community Theatre is all about the local community and for Moreton Hall Facilities Manager, Rob Watkinson, community engagement with every stage of the development of the Holroyd has been key with local business involved in all aspects of the project from design to construction. He says: “It’s very important to us to use people from our community, building for our community”.

For Chris Jones, Director of Weston Rhyn’s Jones Brothers and a fourth generation builder leading on the construction of the project, the local connections are what makes the Holroyd special. With a team of twenty local builders currently involved in this stage of the construction and local subcontractors joining us the building progresses, this is about “Keeping it local for us as a local community, and it’s so exciting to see the project finally taking shape.”

The erection of the steels is expected to take two weeks and after the substructure has been completed, work will begin on laying 42,000 bricks. For Foreman, Mike Williams, overseeing the day to day work on site, the Holroyd Community Theatre promises to be a source of real pride. Already visible across the fields he says “When it’s finished, I know I’ll stand back and think, I was involved with that!”

For students from the Face2Face Academy and from Moreton Hall Drama Department, invited for their first look at their future performance space, the Holroyd promises to be a life-enhancing experience. It won’t be too long before the builders will be raising the roof, no doubt followed soon afterwards by some roof raising performances from performers from across the local community.

Face2Face Academy Students: Rosemary Taylor, Eliza Pickering, Sophie Graham and

Celyn Orton-Jones