Signs they are a-changing at Opera House

New commercial branding could be appearing over Cork Opera House soon as a long-standing deal with car manufacturer Toyota reaches an end this month.

Signs they are a-changing at Opera House

Although no deal is in place to replace three Toyota signs on the tower above the riverside theatre, planning permission is being sought for replacement signs to promote any new sponsor.

Often the subject of criticism as inappropriate on a cultural institution, the signs have been visible from along the quays of the north channel of the River Lee and from northerly approaches to the city centre since first being put up in the late 1980s.

They were erected as part of a deal with the motor company reached by the then Cork Opera House directors at a time when the theatre was in financial dire straits.

With that agreement due to lapse this month, it is understood that the Toyota signs will be taken down in the coming weeks.

However, efforts are believed to be under way to find a suitable supporter which might contribute to have its branding placed on the prominent tower.

While Cork Opera House branding signs could be erected in the meantime if planning is granted, approval from Cork City Council would also clear the way for any future sponsorship deal if one is secured.

The planning application was lodged a fortnight ago, and proposes that powder-coated flat metal signage with vinyl lettering would be put up in place of the existing signs on the three sides of the tower facing north, east and west.

The council could issue a decision by mid-October unless it requires Cork Opera House to provide further information or suggests amendments to the proposals.

The plans are being considered as work begins on renovations to the back-of-house area and part of Cork Opera House’s rear facade at Half Moon St.

Planning permission was granted in July for the work, largely aimed at improving dressing room and storage facilities, and installation of a new stage door. The work environment for staff should also be improved with new roof lights and windows to the Half Moon St side, and a remodeling of existing offices.

The works are intended to be completed by mid-October in order to minimise disruption to the Opera House programme, which will include an appearance by Imelda May as part of the Cork Jazz Festival 2017.

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