Barnsley Arts and Culture

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Things to see

Barnsley has been a market town for hundreds of years and besides charters for various fairs from the thirteenth century onwards, it received a royal charter in 1539 to run a fair and a weekly market. There is evidence of Barnsley’s long history in the twelfth century pinnacle tower of St. Mary’s Church, the existing main church building was erected in 1821.The Monk Bretton Priory, is yet another twelfth century artefacts  The perpendicular gatehouse of the Priory is still standing. See the early eighteenth century Wentworth Castle standing in park grounds.

A museum and gallery documenting local history up to the time of Queen Victoria has been established in Cannon Hall, a former eighteenth century home to the Spencer Stanhope family for two hundred years. Cannon Hall also has a small gallery of historical art works and paintings. The hall also offers an educational service to local schools, there is also an events program for the local community. The Worsbrough Mill is dedicated to the history of Barnsley’s linen industry it is a working mill and is set in Worsbrough Park. There is more going on in the realm of arts and culture in Barnsley, than might first appear to be the case.

Barnsley was a famed industrial town in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and a former iron works and colliery is now home to the Elsecar Heritage Centre housing exhibitions of craft works and historical artefacts. The heritage centre also has conference rooms and stages educational events. Barnsley’s main art gallery is the Cooper Gallery, which is located opposite Barnsley town hall on Church Street. At the Gallery you can see various works of art, including some drawings and water colours, ranging from the seventeenth century up to the present day. The Gallery also has regular exhibitions showing the work of contemporary local and national artists. If you feel a bit dry while taking in the art of Barnsley, then the gallery has good café serving drinks and reasonably priced food.

Barnsley is home to a number of small independent theatre companies the Faceless Company and the Theatre that specialise in alternative, contemporary drama and artistic performance. Mark Mark Productions specialises in magic shows and slapstick comedies. The famous Mystery Plays have been performed in the ruins of the Monk Bretton Priory and had community performers working alongside professionals to gain a taste of medieval theatre.

The Lamproom Theatre Complex is housed on Westgate in what was once a Methodist Church. The complex holds three theatre groups, the Youth Theatre, The Lamproom Theatre Company and the Lamproom Musical Theatre Company. The Lamproom Complex features amateur productions, an annual pantomime and musical theatre, as well as a range of large scale theatre productions. There is also a multi-performance venue at the recently renovated Civic in the centre of town.

Barnsley has a proud history of brass bands, the most prominent being the Grimethorpe Colliery band, which is five miles from the centre of Barnsley and probably one of the better known brass bands in the country.

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