Lights out at Opera House in survival plan

THE final curtain fell at Cork Opera House at the weekend as it closes for three months as part of a radical survival plan.

The lights went out after Saturday night’s sold-out performance of the Michael Jackson tribute show, Man in the Mirror. The theatre will resume normal business in late September. Just three shows will be honoured during the temporary closure – two Daniel O’Donnell concerts on July 14 and 15, which have been sold out, and an Apres Match performance on July 16 as part of the comedy-trio’s Possibly So tour.

Tickets for their comedy gig are on sale, priced €28.

The 1,000-seat theatre is due to reopen on September 28 with a six-night run of Fame The Musical and tickets are on sale now.

The unprecedented summer closure follows a review of the theatre’s books by Deloitte and Touche which showed it was on course to record a €300,000 loss for the period March 2009 to March 2010.

The board of Cork Opera House was advised that costs must be cut by €500,000 if the theatre is to survive.

The financial crisis prompted the board to take the drastic decision to close the theatre’s doors for three months.

Interim chief executive Padraic Liston said if the venue remained open during what is a traditional loss-making period, the losses would have been compounded.

He has warned of further tough decisions, including wage cuts and redundancies.

A small number of core staff will be kept on over the coming weeks. The board has also set up a strategic arts committee to conduct a full review of performances, bookings, artistic output, and ticket prices to help put the theatre on a sound financial footing.

Work is ongoing behind the scenes and it is understood that several meetings have taken place with leading promoters. The board has promised to reopen in September with a full autumn/winter schedule and while the Christmas pantomime is in production, no other details have yet been announced.


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