Rosehill Arts Trust Ltd – Rosehill Redevelopment Phase 1

This project delivered the first stage of the physical redevelopment of Rosehill including:

• The restoration of the Oliver Messel designed auditorium
• Essential renewal and repairs to the fabric, structure and infrastructure of the building
• Improved and enlarged customer service and support facilities (e.g., box office, cloakrooms, heating, ventilation and toilets) for public comfort and to meet contemporary need
• Improved and enlarged backstage facilities
• Enlarged bar and catering facilities including a first floor 60 seat restaurant and terrace overlooking the Solway Firth
• Access for all throughout (except seating in the Circle in the main theatre)

The redevelopment provides the communities of West Cumbria with a performing arts venue of national significance, increasing audience participation, building on the artistic offering at Rosehill and ensuring long-term financial sustainability.

The development of Rosehill offers the best opportunity not only to provide space for more creative activity, but also to increase commercial income through the restaurant facility and bar, and with the ability to host functions including conferences.

Rosehill’s re-opening was marked with a number of celebrations, beginning with HRH The Prince of Wales’ visit to preview the theatre. Attended by over 200 guests including capital funders and individual donors, Alan Sekers and Thomas Messel, son and nephew respectively of Sir Nicholas Sekers and Oliver Messel, Rosehill’s creators, along with Sellafield’s ‘community heroes’ and residents from the neighbouring residential home for the elderly and Busy Bees Nursery, The Prince of Wales was greeted by an expectant crowd and a dance from the local Marcangelo Music Players’ production Clog Dance in the new courtyard.

At the request of Clarence House to celebrate Rosehill’s connection with the opera house, Glyndebourne, Rosehill secured a concert by the Moldovan soprano Natalia Tanasii, a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne and Julia Cobby, a Carlisle-based pianist, who performed arias from Carmen, La bohème and Rusalka and a song by Richard Strauss.

The Prince of Wales was presented with a framed photograph by Cumbria Tourism in recognition of his special contribution to tourism in Cumbria and guests enjoyed locally sourced food prepared by The Green Room team (including students and graduates from Lakes College catering school) before signing the Visitors Book, where he noted HM The Queen Mother’s signature from her visit in 1964.

Unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit, on leaving HRH took away a hamper of goodies prepared in the restaurant.

Richard Elder, Rosehill Theatre Director, said:
“Copeland Community Fund was one of two leading and significant funders (Britain’s Energy Coast was the other) for the redevelopment of Rosehill Theatre, without whom this great project would never have got off the ground. While it has been a challenge to deliver, the splendid results are here for all to see, with people of all ages enjoying and participating in the performing arts.
A crucial addition to Rosehill Theatre, made possible by Copeland Community Fund’s grant, has been the addition of The Green Room restaurant, providing first class hospitality. And apprenticeship and first job opportunity, in association with the catering school at Lakes College.
We are enormously grateful to Copeland Community Fund for this considerable support, making Rosehill an even greater part of the socio-economic development of Copeland and beyond.”

Other Nuclear Decommissioning Authority funding was provided through Britain’s Energy Coast, and further funding from Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Linbury Trust, WREN (FCC Environmental), J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Savoy Educational Trust and National Grid.


  • 12 Full Time Jobs Created/Safeguarded (including 5 Apprenticeships)
  • 14 Part Time Jobs Created/Safeguarded
  • 27,636 additional beneficiaries (over three years following opening)
  • 1 New/Improved Cultural facility
  • 1 Social Enterprise Created
  • 1 Hectare of Open Space Improved
  • 585 Sq Metres of New/Refurbished Floor Space
  • 20 + New Volunteering Opportunities
  • 50 Local People Assisted in their Skills Development


  • Substantially increase and diversify audiences by developing relationships with no less than 20 national performers, companies and practitioners for the arts in West Cumbria by 2018 and ensuring excellence with 65% of audiences rating our work as very good or excellent.
  • Significantly increased education, confidence and skills development and employment opportunities for local people in our first year of operation, through the delivery of our Taking Part strategy engaging with at least 1000 school children by 2018 and through the safeguarding and creation of full or part time employment opportunities and apprenticeships.
  • Creation of new cultural and social facility which will increase our ability to meet the needs of our communities and ensure West Cumbria is a more attractive and welcoming place to live, learn and work, not least because of its cultural provision.
  • Rosehill is financially resilient, secure and sustainable and contributes significantly to the socio-economic regeneration of West Cumbria by attracting up to 30% increase in new philanthropic/public funding in first year of operation, 25% increase in external hires of our redeveloped facilities and full economic impact assessment completed by 2018.