Cooper Hall - Classical Music Venue
St Cecilia
above: St Cecilia, Patron Saint of Music and The Cooper Hall Foundation


Established in 2012 by Morag McLaren, The Cooper Hall Foundation is a Charitable Trust which provides educational and performance opportunities for creative projects.

Located in the Somerset countryside, Cooper Hall is the foundation's performance space, which hosts a variety of events. Enhanced with specially commissioned artwork both inside and out, the building has its foundations in a creative heart and soul. Inside, beautiful architectural panels designed by Martin Dolan bear the image of St Cecelia, the patron saint of music and outside an imposing piece of sculpture by local artist Kate Semple draws the eye to the grounds and river beyond.

“I hope Cooper Hall will create a haven – a peaceful and bright space where the sights, sounds and smells of nature in the beautiful surrounding landscape can inspire, recuperate and refresh. Artistic work and the creative process thrive in an environment where there is space, safety and peace to experiment, discover, take risks, make mistakes, play with new ideas - without harsh judgment.”

Morag McLaren
Director, The Cooper Hall Foundation

"I never expected Cooper Hall to develop the way it has; to become such a unique space for such versatile use. Its beginnings started as an entertainment annex for the family of Selwood Manor – it was not meant to be.
After 30 years in the business, I have learned that nothing is cast in stone, and sometimes projects evolve to their own level. I have always felt that colour, light, lighting and detail are the key factors to look and ambience. This, I am told, has been achieved, and I hope people will continue to enjoy the space, what ever the event."

Jonathan Cooper
Designer and Project Manager.


In terms of restoration, definitive is always an uneasy word, it seems always to carry a prerequisite, something that leaves no room for a new interpretation. For us to say that the gardens at Selwood Manor are a definitive restoration would be wrong, which is a good thing. For what we have tried to create instead is an environment that reflects, not only Morag's brief in how she wanted the gardens to be, but also an environment around which The Cooper Hall and it's ethos of holistic teaching and performance will flourish.

To achieve this has been a great endeavor, made possible only by a fantastic team in many guises. It is from our perspective a little like “Botanical Theatre” - but that's only half the story. Nothing about what we do, nor indeed horticulture itself is ever static. Perhaps this is where the creative in all disciplines interconnect. If no two performances are ever the same, then no two seasons are either. If the gardens here at Selwood reflect that, then perhaps it goes someway to embracing all that Cooper Hall represents as a unique and personal experience, both for those visiting and for all those invited to perform.

Richard Groves. Head Gardener
Cooper Hall lends itself to a broad range of artistic and educational pursuits, to include:
Chamber Music
Musical Theatre
  Collaborative projects
Research and Development

The bright acoustic of Cooper Hall is well-suited to recording a range of musical genres. Cooper Hall is available to hire.

Morag McLaren

B.Ed (Lancaster)
Operatic Training (Royal Northern College of Music)
MA “Performance, Health and Personal Development”. Dist'. LCM
Professional performing experience includes:
Opera (WNO,SNO)
Music Theatre (West End, National Theatre)
Physical Theatre (Opera Circus)
Improvisation (Impropera),
Cabaret/One Woman Shows (leading festivals worldwide)
Teaching experience of all ages and abilities in: workshops, master-classes, and as vocal presentation consultant/coach (AIMS, LCM, GSMD,GSA).

General focus in teaching on integration and personal process work, with specific interest and continued academic study on the power of emotional expression in singing.
Cooper Hall’s Eco Friendly Geothermal Heating and Cooling system
A sophisticated new underfloor heating and cooling system designed by Greenfield Energy was pioneered at Cooper Hall. Energy for heating and cooling the building and surrounding buildings and pool is supplied by a geothermal coupled heat pump system which is now the basis for large geothermal systems being installed in large supermarket superstores throughout the country.

At Cooper Hall two large bore holes were directionally drilled, using oil exploration drilling techniques, some 200 meters below the surface, encased in steel with a central tube to allow fluid to circulate up and down the bore holes as directed by a computer controlled bore hole management system. Fluid is circulated, extracting or rejecting thermal energy as required through the bore hole heat exchangers below the earth’s surface.

This arrangement is coupled with electric air-conditioning type heat pumps and results in reducing the energy requirements for heating and cooling the building, as well as other buildings near the site and the swimming pool. The mechanics for the system are separately housed in a geothermal exchange hut behind the building. The net result is a reduction of energy consumption and environmental emissions use by about 60% compared to conventional systems.

    copyright © Cooper Hall 2015