9 May 2016
By Tom Collins
Cork Opera House is located in Cork City, but today Cork County Councillors today voted in favour of contributing €170,000 to the much loved institution. Why? because the Opera House plays an integral role in sustaining the Arts in Cork County.
Cork County Council have already providing €50,000 a year to the theatre since 2011.
Today’s €170,000 will go towards the creation of a multi-functional room that can be used for rehearsals for major shows, refurbishment of the back bar, improvements to public bathrooms, plumbing and general maintenance of the back house.
The works will bring the entire facility up to modern health and safety standards and will allow for the reopening of the back bar area to the public which has been closed on health and safety grounds for some time. This area will provide an appropriately sized space for local artists to perform. Cork Opera House which over the years has attracted many internationally renowned performers currently has no appropriate Green Room space and improvements will also include the provision of a fully operational Green Room enabling the venue to attract and accommodate visiting artists of the standard appropriate for a venue of such prestige.
Commenting on the announcement of the funding the Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr. John Paul O’Shea mentioned the enormous contribution Cork Opera House has made to the artistic and cultural fibre of both city and county over many years. “I was delighted to see that 81,448 patrons during 2015 were from the County area and I have no doubt that the fantastic improvements planned for the venue will put Cork’s Opera House back in its rightful place as a theatre of International standard that we can all be proud of”
The Chief Executive of Cork County Council Mr. Tim Lucey mentioned that he was very pleased that the Council had pledged their support for this project. “The Opera House has recovered to a position of growth over the last five years and has provided a superb venue for all Cork people and indeed, our visitors to enjoy. Cork County Council is happy to contribute to the enrichment of one of Cork’s best cultural assets”.
Through its own means, Cork Opera House will contribute €200,000 to meet the required capital costs. Cork County Council and Cork City Council will provide funding support of €170,000 each to cover the remaining costs and bring the project to completion. The Opera House has gone from strength to strength in recent years and having put stable operational procedures and practices in place it is now time to address the needs of the physical premises.
The Chairman of Cork Opera House Mr. Damian Wallace welcomed the Council’s decision to financially support the ongoing revenue and capital needs of the House. “Over the last number of years the Opera House has been transformed and this has only been possible because of the support of our key stakeholders. The ongoing financial commitment of Cork County Council is crucial from a financial point of view and is recognition of the regional remit of the theatre and of the contribution that Cork Opera House makes to the artistic and cultural life of the wider Cork region. We want to thank the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr John Paul O’ Shea and his fellow councillors and the management of the County Council for the support which will help us to maintain the high standards which we have set in providing the best quality entertainment, across a broad artistic and cultural programme, to our many patrons.”
At present there are no suitable Government grant schemes to support any capital developments so the support of the Cork public through the donations from both Council’s is vital. It goes a long way to preserving and protecting the future of Cork Opera House as a venue to be enjoyed by all.