Putting Halifax on the map: Live at The Piece Hall

Cuffe and Taylor and The Piece Hall discuss Live at The Piece Hall, a new concert series that will put Halifax on the map…

When a local authority waxes lyrical about a promoter and urges you to have a conversation with them it’s wise to take their advice, right? Well, last summer, Nicky Chance-Thompson, CEO of The Piece Hall, visited Scarborough Open Air Theatre (SOAT) and did just that. Following a conversation with Scarborough Borough Council, Chance- Thompson called Peter Taylor, co-founder of Cuffe and Taylor, which produces live events at SOAT. That meeting was last August, and now Cuffe and Taylor has entered into a five-year agreement with The Piece Hall to programme a series of live events that will put the heritage venue on the map.

The first of eleven live shows took place on June 19 with the last one wowing audiences on July 10. What started out as a desire to create a series of concerts across four weekends soon grew, as high-profile artists confirmed mid-week availability. The opportunity to host Noel Gallagher and Duran Duran at The Piece Hall was too good to miss.

“We got a call from Nicky in August last year,” explained Taylor, from the comfort of crew catering. “The venue wanted to do more gigs, had seen the work that we had done in Scarborough, and how did we feel about working together.

“I hopped in the car and drove to Halifax, and we did a deal the next day. We had to get on with it, it was August [2021]. I’d already booked most of my line up for 2022 and we had to hit the ground running.”

Cuffe and Taylor waited until February to officially announce that it had secured an exclusive five-year deal to co-promote headline shows at The Piece Hall, a former Georgian cloth hall – which isn’t so much of a “hall” but a stunning Grade
I listed courtyard flanked by independent shops and cafés. “We shared a vision,” said Chance-Thompson. “Cuffe and Taylor understood the space and understood that we’re a heritage venue with a strong tenant community. Gigs impact our tenants, but we had a meeting of minds.”

Daniel Cuffe Joe Robinson Peter Taylor


Just one week after the first meeting, Live at The Piece Hall’s first concert went on sale to the public. It was demonstrative of the trust that both parties had in each other.

“There was no rhyme or reason, no planning, just a leap of faith,” continued Taylor. “They had trust that we were going to deliver.”

But it wasn’t financially viable to do one gig. Cuffe and Taylor programmed eleven concerts. There was an aspiration to create a series. Live at The Piece Hall was created.

Joe Robinson, director of operations at Cuffe and Taylor, said: “We knew that we wanted to create and build a summer series. The Piece Hall didn’t want to have mid-week gigs. They wanted shows from Thursday to Sunday but when Noel Gallagher was available but only on a Tuesday, they said: ‘OK, we’ll do a Tuesday’. When Duran Duran was available but only on a Tuesday, they said: ‘OK, we’ll do a Tuesday’. No shows on a Monday to Wednesday went out of the window; the calibre of artists was a no brainer.”


StandOut is sitting with Robinson, Taylor, and Daniel Cuffe, co-founder of Cuffe and Taylor, as Paul Weller prepares to wow crowds. It’s show seven and 5,500 people are entering the historic venue. It’s an intriguing site.

“There are so many stakeholders in the building, we have to be sensitive to the fact that they have businesses to run,” Cuffe commented. “We had to get timings right – load-in times and sound checks – and because we had done that it enabled the trust to have proper conversations with stakeholders about the mid-week shows. Partnerships like this only work if everybody wins.”

The Piece Hall stays open to the public every day until 4.30pm and the site is managed by a team that includes Martin Clarke, production manager, and Ken Rankin, safety manager. Most of the infrastructure on site is permanent, so it’s one of the easiest to operate in terms of operations, and the lack of physical infrastructure that is required for this series means it is one of Cuffe and Taylor’s “greenest” shows.

So, as the series hits show number seven, what lessons have been learned? “It’s seeing what the opportunities
are rather than what lessons are to be learned,” commented Robinson. “Yes, there are always going to be things that come up that you navigate through, but we have lots of opportunity here. It’s more of a question of how we make the building shine more during the event.”


According to Robinson, people love The Piece Hall and like coming to concerts because they are at The Piece Hall. And you can sort of tell that from the surrounding car parks. When the car parks are empty it means that everyone enjoying the gig is local. Only when the artist playing is more left field have the car parks been full, which demonstrates that people are willing to travel to this 5,500-capacity gig in Halifax.

Cuffe continued: “We’ve not made it easy for ourselves. We’ve got to take things up a level in 2023 and there is always going to be that expectation to deliver more. We may look at front of house designs for 2023 and leave the stage as it is, and in 2024, we may look at something else. We do know there are opportunities for hospitality, and we could offer pre and post-show packages.”

Taylor added: “This year, we wanted to deliver a quality show for an audience, with a good line up and we now know we have a base, the audience will come, and we know the show works. The venue has been hands-on and have been great at event managing the shows, so we’ve been here in more of a promoter role.”

Robinson said that The Piece Hall has a great event management structure and production manager in the shape of Clarke, which has allowed Cuffe and Taylor to be more “dynamic”.

“We need to make it sound more dramatic,” Taylor laughs, as he ponders whether Live at The Piece Hall is one of the “easiest” shows it has produced. “Working on this event has been a huge contrast to everywhere else we’ve gone. This summer there have been some massive challenges in terms of supply chain. We came to some shows here last summer and had a great experience, so why change suppliers?”

Nicky Chance-Thompson Live at The Piece Hall


NoNonsense Group, Digitall Comms, The Needs Group, HPSS, Controlled Spaces, and Blue Yonder Events have provided
kit and services to the event, which is fully cashless. Clarke told StandOut that he only works with “nice people” because who you contract reflects on the final product. A successful event starts with that first introduction and that first conversation.

“If you want to give your audience a good time, it starts with the artist. One level back from the artist, you have us and the welcome we give them. That’s also the people and contractors we fill this building with to deliver the shows.”

Taylor has already booked eight of the artists for next year’s Live at The Piece Hall and discussions have started about the “opportunities” that could be pursued.

Chance-Thompson concluded: “The Piece Hall is loved by the community, and it is owned by the community. I wanted
to give them bands they wanted to see and not artists that promoters wanted to showcase. I think we have done that.

“We’re all a bit tired by what we’ve produced but we’re energised by the reaction of our audience. This year will be hard to beat but we’ve set the bar high, and we’ll continue to deliver world-class artists in a world-class venue.”