March 2020 was always going to be an exciting time at Chapel FM. Its annual Writing on Air festival, with over 60 events featuring local writers and artists premiering new material, was all set to go. As soon as it was over, the builders were ready to start a £640,000 renovation to provide new studio space and a community café. Artists had been working on their contributions for six months.
Then Covid-19 happened.
At first, like everything else, the event was postponed for a few months. Before that came around, it became clear that wasn’t happening. Or much else, for that matter.
Chapel FM in Leeds
But the people at Chapel FM are made of sterner stuff. East Leeds’ only arts centre and home of radio station ELFM had broadcast their Shopping Forecast during three months of the first lockdown. They provided a vital service for local isolated individuals. Their response was to create.
Now, their reimagined building features a new community café, flexible hall for arts workshops and performances, a reading library featuring the work of local writers, outdoor seating, an innovative ground-source heating system, integrated video streaming systems, and the ability to host a wider range of special events.
Writing on Air
Writing on Air will now take place over the first weekend in October as part of ‘Good to go’: a three week celebration marking the opening of the new building. It’s a way of saying to the community that Chapel FM is back stronger than ever. Good To Go runs from 23 September until 9 October and includes live shows, a giant bird puppet parade, an interactive art installation on Seacroft Green, a rare showing of the film Kes and lots more.
The opening of the new and improved Chapel FM arts centre marks an exciting new chapter in the history of Chapel FM building on more than 20 years of deep arts and broadcasting activity in Seacroft and East Leeds.
“We are thrilled open the doors to the magical new Chapel FM Arts Centre to the community and the wider world” said Tony Macaluso, Chapel FM director. “In order to bring artists, storytellers, activists, media makers together with residents to share their visions for the future of East Leeds. The newly renovated Chapel FM is designed to be a bustling, joyful shared space where new ideas and collaborations can take flight.”
For further information, go to https://www.chapelfm.co.uk