Buxton Opera House plans major refit to attract ‘higher calibre’ productions

Buxton Opera House.
Buxton Opera House.

Buxton Opera House is planning a major refit of its stage equipment to attract a ‘higher calibre of production’ - enabling ‘a whole new era of performances’.

Trustees at the much-loved theatre say its original hemp rope flying system is no longer fit for purpose.

The now ‘uneven’ raked stage puts some dance companies off and additional toilet facilities are needed improving access across the theatre as a whole.

Buxton Opera House has now been awarded a grant from Arts Council England and High Peak Borough Council for a feasibility study on the proposals.

A spokesman for the opera house said all changes will be sympathetic to the Grade II listed building and ‘the original vision of its architect Frank Matcham’.

Chief Executive Paul Kerryson said he had long seen the facilities as a barrier to having major touring dance and theatre productions coming to Buxton.

He said: “Improving our facilities will have a huge benefit to our audiences.

“From providing a smooth raked stage which large touring companies prefer, to making the theatre truly accessible for all these changes would provide Buxton with one of the best theatre experiences around.”

Chair of the High Peak Theatre Trust board Professor Judy Simons also believes that this study will unlock benefits for Buxton Opera House audiences.

She said: “The Opera House urgently needs modern facilities that meet present-day standards and can match its stunning auditorium - the study is a key step.”

The feasibility study is due to take seven weeks and will propose a number of options for consideration before any decisions are made.

Members of the public can view the proposals on the opera house website from June onwards and the plans will also be on display at Buxton Opera House. They can also share thoughts on the proposals at customerservice@boh.org.uk.