Buxton Opera House
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Buxton Opera House, is an exquisitely beautiful Edwardian theatre, is situated in Water Street, the building dates to in 1903 the period of Buxton's heyday as a spa.
The building was designed by Frank Matcham, one of Britain's finest theatre architects. He also designed two famous London theatres, the London Palladium and the London Coliseum. It has a stone exterior with central entrance flanked by two leaded domed towers at each corner of the front façade. The Louis XIV style auditorium has three boxes each side of the stage, two boxes at dress circle level, and one above with an oval curved shell ceiling. The Proscenium arch was curved with heavy scroll decoration at each side surmounted by the Buxton coat of arms. The ceiling wasa richly decorated oval dome featuring six painted panels by De Jong, of music, painting, poetry, literature, dancing, and comedy. An exquisite building with intricate decoration and superb acoustics, it bears the distinction of being the highest opera house in England.
The Opera House ran as a successful theatre until 1927, when it was turned into a cinema. Despite its success as a cinema through the fifties and sixties, audiences began to diminish and the Opera House gradually fell into disrepair until it was closed in 1976.
In 1979 it was the subject of a major restoration An orchestra pit was also added to the original Frank Matcham design. Between October 1999 and June 2001 a further extensive program of both internal and external restoration took place. In February 2007, another refurbishment was completed at the Opera House that saw the installation of air conditioning in the gallery and backstage area, new seats in the gallery and upper circle, a new get-in lift to replace the ramp.
Buxton Opera House is now one of Britainís leading receiving theatres, presenting around 450 performances each year including dance, comedy, childrenís shows, drama, musical concerts, pantomime and opera as well as a lively Fringe Theatre and Community and Education Programme. The theatre is also home to the prestigious Buxton Festival and The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival and The Four-Four-Time Festival of Live Music.