Opera Action Ltd invited people to look around the former bingo hall on Friday.
Its aim was to show the building’s potential in a bid to drum up support for plans to transform it into a thriving theatre hub for West Cumbria.
The group also invited representatives from Workington Amateur Operatic
Society, Workington Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society, the Carnegie Singers and the Theatre Royal-based Playgoers to a meeting on Friday, but only representatives from the Playgoers attended.
About 30 people attended the meeting, including members of the civic trust and heritage group.
Keith Beattie, Opera Action spokesman, said: “There is nothing in our plans that should be detrimental to existing groups in Workington.
“It would be in the best interests of these groups to help build a much-needed
“We all share concerns about the future of arts provision in West Cumbria, and Opera Action accepts that it’s a challenge for us all.
“Once the Opera House is gone, it’s gone.”
Playgoers said it could harm the Theatre Royal on Washington Street as they could lose customers and find it more difficult to get support from grant-giving bodies.
But Mr Beattie said that a revived Opera House would offer different fare to the Theatre Royal and the Carnegie.
The Stockport Plaza is being held up by Opera Action as an example of how similar projects can help to revitalise a town.
ry Trinder, vice chairman and technical director of the Plaza, talked about how dedicated volunteers had revived that building’s fortunes with support from the council, amateur dramatic groups and local schools and colleges.
He said groups based at the nearby Garrick in Stockport had seen their ticket sales increase by 30 per cent thanks to box office support from its larger neighbour.
An Opera House revival already has support from Barbara Cannon, deputy leader of Allerdale council, and Allerdale mayor Joe Holliday.
Coun Cannon said: “The only thing that stops us going forward with a major project is lack of ambition and aspiration.”
She added that the group must work with the Carnegie Theatre on Finkle Street and the Theatre Royal.
oup’s next priority is the development of a business plan.
The Opera House is owned by Graves (Cumberland) Limited which submitted plans to demolish the Pow Street building and three shops below it and build apartments and shops last year.
The company has since pledged to work with Opera Action.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 18 August 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk