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Rosehill theatre gets £1m revamp boost

The redevelopment of the Rosehill theatre in Whitehaven is a step closer thanks to a £1m grant from the Copeland community fund.

Along with the proposed investment of £2m from the Arts Council, £3m has now been raised against the total of £4.5 required for the plans.

The redevelopment will upgrade the theatres facilities, with more performance space, a renovated auditorium and contemporary exhibition and catering facilities. It will also provide a community hub and opportunities for new commercial enterprise.

What the terrace area would look like Credit: Johnston and Wright Architects

The director of the theatre Richard Elder said:

"This is a very significant decision by Copeland Community Fund to invest in Rosehill to this extent at this crucial time and is a major boost to our fundraising. Their decision is based not least on our work with young people and in our many neighbouring communities with a strong emphasis that this should develop which is a key purpose of the redevelopment.

"Rosehill’s intention is to be a local theatre of national significance which this funding takes us much closer to achieving, for which we are very grateful indeed.”

– Richard Elder

Those involved in the theatre say the funds are badly needed. It was created in 1959, and it needs upgraded to meet modern standards.Rosehill has been described as an important heritage building rooted in the Copeland and Whitehaven communities, Its founder Sir Nicholas Sekers not only created Rosehill but was a significant employer at the local silk factory which enjoyed international acclaim.

Artists impression Credit: Johnston and Wright Architects

The leader of Copeland Borough Council said:

"This is excellent news for Rosehill, the community and the arts and cultural sector in the area. As I have said before, there is a clear need for a strong and vibrant cultural sector to support existing communities and inward migration to the area.

"Rosehill is the only venue in West Cumbria that is able to deliver such a wide-ranging, high quality and inspiring program of arts performance and engagement, and is a key to the area’s future success.”

– Elaine Woodburn

Councillor Tim Knowles is the Chair fo the Copeland Community Fund, he siad:

“The redevelopment of Rosehill Theatre will provide Copeland and the wider community with a world class facility for the arts and we have invested our largest grant yet into this project. The board was supportive of the project as it will provide an exciting opportunity to engage young people into theatre and create employment. With the support of the Copeland Community Fund we hope that the project is able to draw in the funding required to complete this exciting new venture for the borough."

"The Fund supported Rosehill last year with a grant of £50,000 to enable them to work with residents and young people in the development of the project and produce the required documents as part of their application to the Arts Council. In addition, a smaller grant was allocated to enable Rosehill in partnership with The Beacon to exhibit some of Rosehill’s famous designer Oliver Messel’s theatre designs, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.”

– Cllr Tim Knowles

Rosehill’s Team will now continue to work to raise the additional money required for the project, with a decision on a further large application due in the summer.

It is anticipated that work will begin on site in 2013 with the new Rosehill opening its doors from October 2014.

Artists impression Credit: Johnston and Wright Architects