The Maltings at Snape, built by Newson Garrett in the 19th century, was one of the largest barley maltings in East Anglia. However, it became uneconomic and malting stopped in 1965. At that time the owner, George Gooderham, leased some of the buildings to the Aldeburgh Festival. Thus, the malt-house was converted into a concert hall. At Snape, the whole collection of industrial buildings are rather loosely refer to as 'the maltings', though many of them have always been warehouses and other business premises.
A fire destroyed the Concert Hall on the first night of the Aldeburgh Festival in 1969 but it was rebuilt in time for the following year's festival. The adjacent barley store was converted into the Britten-Pears School in 1979. The Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme offers excellent training and performance opportunities in the inspiring setting of the east coast of England. By feeding into the international Aldeburgh Festival and a year-round programme of concerts and events, the Britten-Pears Programme has launched many artists' careers. In 1999 the Concert Hall was refurbished and the public and backstage areas extended and access improved.
Every year, thousands of young people and amateurs in local orchestras, choirs and music groups perform at Snape, making it one of the most important community arts venues in the east, as well as an internationally famous concert hall. Backstage tours of the Concert Hall which look at the history of the Maltings from malt-house to concert hall can be arranged for groups between 12 and 40, subject to the Hall's availability.
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