“I want the caption to be: I demolished it,” said Birmingham punk star Toyah Willcox, as she was photographed alongside local musician Rosie Tee outside the redevelopment of Symphony Hall’s foyer on Wednesday, 16 October.
The Birmingham musicians were at the world-renowned music venue in the city centre to witness progress on the Making an Entrance redevelopment, which will create a performance space for talented local artists to have even more opportunities to perform as part of a daily programme with free and affordable performances.
After the viewing of the Symphony Hall foyer redevelopment, Toyah met members and patrons to answer questions about her career, her current activities – including a performance as part of Electric Ladies of the 80s with Hazel O’Connor at Town Hall on 25 April 2020 – and her ambitions for the future.
Charismatic, outspoken and impossible to categorise, Toyah Willcox is one of Britain’s beloved household names – an award-winning rock legend as well as a much-loved stage/screen actress and music composer hailing from Kings Heath. Toyah has amassed thirteen top 40 singles, recorded twenty-five albums, written two books, appeared in over forty stage plays, acted in over twenty feature films and presented hundreds of television programmes.
In 2001 Toyah was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Central England in Birmingham, in 2012 was awarded a star on the Kings Heath Walk of Fame and in 2016 received a star on Birmingham’s Broad Street Walk of Stars.
Rosie Tee is a songwriter, composer and performer based in Birmingham. With an innovative, atmospheric blend of electronic, jazz, classical and pop, Rosie's sound has been dubbed a 'grown-up brand of art-pop' by The Unsigned Guide. Hailed as ‘transcendent’ and ‘genre-defying’, her contemporary approach to song-writing straddles the contrasting worlds of alt-pop, rising UK jazz and contemporary classical. Her sound is inspired by Laura Mvula, Björk and Anna Meredith.
Through opportunities presented to me by Town Hall Symphony Hall, I’ve been given a supportive platform for my contemporary and experimental take on song-writing to bloom. This has included an unplugged lunchtime, followed by a performance with my full band as part of THSH Jazzlines programme alongside friend and BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Xhosa Cole. I can’t wait to see the new development and how positively it’s going to impact the next generation of musicians.Rosie Tee
The Making an Entrance project is a major transformation of Symphony Hall’s public foyer areas. In addition to a state-of-the-art foyer performance space for free and low-cost activities, there will be dedicated spaces able to host learning and participation projects, and a richer and more welcoming experience including an enhanced food and beverage offer, refurbished toilets, additional disabled WCs and a Space to Change facility.
Town Hall Symphony Hall present a wide-ranging programme of music, comedy and spoken word, and the £13.2 million project will mean that even more people can access and enjoy this work.
We currently reach over 18,000 people with our learning and community programme and over the coming years we will be able to reach thousands more in the transformed spaces that this project will create. As significant cuts are made to music tuition in our region’s schools, this transformation will support local talent by providing an enhanced space for people to be musically creative.Nick Reed, Chief Executive for Town Hall Symphony Hall