MEMORY LANE: Share your memories of Buxton Opera House

Buxton Opera House in 1903
Buxton Opera House in 1903
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A history project is aiming to capture people’s memories of one of the jewels in Buxton’s crown - and the area’s residents are being invited to get involved.

Frank Matcham’s beautiful Buxton Opera House, which officially opened its doors in 1903, is the focus of the new research, led by staff and volunteers at the Water Street arts venue.

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Keith Savage, one of the opera house trustees, explained: “I was talking to a neighbour over Christmas. She told me that she was part of the chorus for the opera house’s 1946 production of Cinderella starring Patrick Cargill and Julie Mortimer.

“She sang one of the songs for me. It is memories like that that we want to try and save.

“Not everyone will have performed on stage, of course. Some will remember when the opera house was a cinema or how they went there on dates.”

“There is already a lot of enthusiasm about this,” Mr Savage continued.

“The town’s museum holds a substantial archive of opera house memorabilia and we hope to organise trips down memory lane there.

“Staff and volunteers at the opera house have also said that they’d like to be involved and we hope to hold events there when people can tell us what the opera house means to them.”

If residents are unable to travel, Mr Savage said volunteers would be happy to go out and gather memories and stories.

“It may be that as people are spring cleaning they come across pictures, programmes or press cuttings about the opera house,” he added.

“If so we’d be happy to receive anything and add it to the archive.”

It is intended that some stories and memories will be recorded for others to hear. In the longer run, what Buxton people recall about the opera house may be published.

Anyone who is willing to talk about, or otherwise share, what the opera house means to them is asked to contact Keith on 01298 70705 or email whiteknowle@gmail.com.