Buxton Opera House to open new Pavilion arts venue

Natalie Woolman
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Buxton Opera House is due to open a secondary venue later this month, following a £2.5 million redevelopment project.

The Pavilion Arts Centre, which comprises a 360-seat auditorium, a studio theatre and workshop space, will programme drama, comedy and live music events and is due to open on September 24.

Speaking to The Stage, Andrew Aughton, chief executive of Buxton Opera House said: “It will enable us to select items that are more appropriate for smaller spaces than we are currently able to do. This will mean that slightly more commercial products will find a regular place in the opera house than they previously did and [. . .] things that push the envelope will find their way into the smaller spaces.”

He added that, previously, much of the Opera House’s work that was not appropriate for the 902-seat venue, including its fringe seasons, was nomadic and will now have a home in the new space. It will also see the launch of regular youth theatre groups for the first time. Three young theatre companies are expected to launch in January.

The Pavilion will be used as a venue in the Buxton Festival and Festival Fringe and the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival that take place in the town every year. It will be run by High Peak Theatre Trust, which also runs the Opera House.

Building work on the 19th century venue began in January and has included the restoration of the Art Deco foyer. Buxton Opera House has raised £900,000 towards the cost of the project, just under £1 million was provided by the Derby and Derbyshire Economic Partnership, a branch of East Midlands Development Agency. High Peak Borough Council has contributed the rest of the £2.5 million cost of the project.

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