Mytholmroyd Net

Mytholmroyd Net

Mytholmroyd will get its long-dreamed of memorial to Ted Hughes at Calder High School.

The school theatre is to be named after the Poet Laureate.

As building work got under way on the 500,000 redevelopment project at the school, Mr Hughes' widow, Carol, gave permission for the naming. She told head teacher Mr Stephen Ball that she was honoured that the theatre would commemorate her late husband.

One of the first major events to be staged there could be the world premiere of two new pieces of music dedicated to Ted Hughes.

The new theatre, which will open at the end of the year, will ultimately be used as a community theatre as well as a centre of excellence for the school's performing arts faculty.

The Elmet Trust, which is dedicated to the memory of the poet and his work, now hope to stage next year's festival in honour of the 10th anniversary of Hughes' death at the new theatre.

They are organising a concert featuring the world premiere of two orchestral pieces which they have commissioned, the Ted Hughes suite by Lawrence Killian, and a work by John Reeman interpreting five poems from Hughes' classic collection The Remains of Elmet. It is hoped that this will form part of the official opening ceremonies of the theatre in a year's time.

Head teacher Mr Stephen Ball said: "This is a wonderful development and it will be something that the whole community can be proud of. It gives us the opportunity to work with Royd Regeneration and the Elmet Trust to use the school as a focal point for the community. It is really important for people in this area that the life and work of Ted Hughes can be marked in this way."

The Elmet Trust had hoped to create a Ted Hughes centre in Mytholmroyd, but following a feasibility study, plans to use the former railway station were dropped. Following a meeting at the school this week, the chairman and director of Royd Regeneration, Mr Eric Alston, who is also a director of the Elmet Trust, said that the school theatre was a really exciting proposal.

"The key is to keep young people involved," he said. He will work with head of performing arts at the school, Ms Jill Leicester, to plan ways in which the school students can be involved in the festival next year. He also hopes to help develop the soon to be decorated reception area into a small exhibition of Hughes memorabilia.

Ms Leicester said: "This is a really exciting development, and we are sure that it will help to stimulate some really creative work among the students."

The chair of the Elmet Trust, Mrs Sheila Macanulty, a drama teacher and playwright who is a former CHS pupil, said: "' We are absolutely thrilled that the new theatre at Calder High is to be named after Ted Hughes. This will be a terrific resource for the school and the village as a whole, and we hope to stage some of the 2008 Ted Hughes Festival there. It will also draw attention to Mytholmroyd's famous son, who was not only Poet Laureate but a great dramatist and children's writer too. I myself acted on the orginal stage when a student at Calder High many years ago and it was there that my lifetime's passion for the theatre was sown. It will therefore be a double delight for me to see the opening of the new Ted Hughes Theatre.'

Ted Hughes, who was born nearby in Aspinall Street, officially opened the school's Library and Resource Centre in 1993 and donated an original manuscript of his poem "For Billy Holt" which hangs on the wall there.

See also: Portrait of Ted Hughes by Reginald Gray.

Ted Hughes Corner,