Navigation Content Activities in the Peak District

Buxton Opera House

Buxton Opera House

Built in 1903 and designed by Frank Matcham, one of Britain's finest theatre architects, the Opera House ran as a successful theatre, receiving touring companies until 1927.

In 1927 the theatre was turned into a cinema. Silent films were shown at first and in 1932 the theatre was wired for sound and 'talkies' took over. The demand for live theatre persisted though, and Lillian Bayliss, a woman of immense energy and vision, and manager of The Old Vic, presented summer Festivals in Buxton in 1937 and 1939. Among the stars to delight Buxton audiences at this time were Sybil Thorndike, Lewis Casson, Robert Donat, Anthony Quayle, Robert Morley and Alec Guinness.

Although the Festivals continued during wartime, a loss of momentum resulted in the end of live theatre production. Throughout the late 1940s, 50s and 60s the Opera House operated solely as a cinema, with only local amateur theatre performances and the annual pantomimes providing any links to its illustrious past.

Towards the end of the 1970s the Opera House fell into disuse but was lovingly restored in 1979 following dedicated work by many people both locally and nationally. Since the completion of this restoration work Buxton Opera House has been at the centre of a remarkable success story and has developed as a community theatre catering for wide-ranging tastes and ages.

In late 1990s however it became apparent that the Opera House required further urgent restoration work in order to secure its future into the next century and beyond. An extensive £1.9 million programme of external and internal restoration was undertaken between October 1999 and June 2001 to restore the theatre to its original 1903 glory.

Buxton Opera House - Events

Each summer the Opera House is home to the Buxton Festival, which has developed into one of Britain's largest opera-based festivals, and the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. The Opera House also presents its own annual live music festival Four-Four Time in February each year. Featuring a mixture of jazz, blues, folk and world music Four-Four Time has featured a string of world class artists since its launch 3 years ago including Elvis Costello, Courtney Pine, Jools Holland, The Levellers and The Esbjorn Svensson Trio. Throughout the rest of the year, the Opera House produces an annual programme of dance, comedy, music, opera, drama and children's shows as well as a traditional family pantomime. The theatre also operates a Fringe programme of small-scale drama, film and comedy as well as an extensive Education and Community programme.

Buxton Opera House - Patrons

The Opera House is owned by High Peak Borough Council and managed by the High Peak Theatre Trust. Its patrons are the Lady Jasmine Cavendish, daughter of His Grace The Duke of Devonshire and Mrs Margaret Millican MBE, DL.


Water Street
SK17 6XN

For a detailed map of this business with aerial views please SK17 6XN

When contacting Buxton Opera House please mention you found them on Peak District Online

Box Office:

Tel: 0845 12 72190 Fax: 01298 27563

W: The Website of this business is

About The Buxton Opera House. Buxton Opera House is one of Britain’s leading receiving theatres, presenting around 450 performances each year including dance, comedy, children’s shows, drama, musical concerts, pantomime and opera as well as a lively Fringe Theatre and Community and Education Programme. The theatre is also home to the prestigious Buxton Festival and The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival and The Four-Four-Time Festival of Live Music. Lovingly...
Peak District Theatres - Buxton Opera House - Buxton
You are viewing results 1 to 1 of 1