|Pavilion Arts Centre Update|
|Tuesday, 13 July 2010 07:59|
The curtain is set to rise on the £2.5million transformation of the Pavilion Gardens’ rundown Paxton Suite into a state-of-the-art theatre and conference venue.
Members of the public will be invited into the new Pavilion Arts Centre on September 16 – eight months after contractors moved in. An opening festival, Ten Days, will then showcase the flexibility of the new site, with 58 arts and theatre performances to follow before Christmas.
The project partners, High Peak Borough Council and Buxton Opera House, believe the centre will enhance the town’s standing as a destination both for arts and for conference and business events.
“We will be extensively promoting the facilities locally, regionally and nationally,” says Terry Crawford, head of visitor services for High Peak and Staffordshire Moorlands councils. “We want to compete with Sheffield, Derby, Manchester and the likes of York and Harrogate.”
For Opera House chief executive Andrew Aughton, the opening marks the realisation of a long-held ambition: “I knew we wanted a studio theatre and I knew we needed a rehearsal space for junior and youth theatre. Over the years, I knew this would work.
“It has pushed out the corners of the Opera House programme, allowing us to stage alternative shows to the main house.”
Buxton’s first new theatre in over 100 years is a 21st century evolution of the former Playhouse and Hippodrome. The balcony, taken out of use when a suspended ceiling was installed in 1979, has been restored. The stage has been significantly extended and can be used separately as a 93-seat studio theatre – with its own entrance on St John’s Road.
In total, the Pavilion Arts Centre can seat 462, with 369 seats in the main auditorium. Retractable seating adds to the flexibility of the space.
Says Terry: “It lends itself well to many activities such as exhibitions, conferences, seminars and banqueting. We can really start to compete.”
The building will be handed over by the contractor Tomlinson on Aug 27, on schedule and under budget. There will be a civic evening on September 16, followed by the free public open day on the September 18, from 10am to 4pm.
A leaflet with 14 images of the new facility and details of the Ten Days festival is available from the Opera House foyer.
Article supplied by Pure Buxton