Saviour of opera house stands down as chairman

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One of the key figures behind the restoration of Buxton Opera House is standing down as its chairman.

Michael Williams MBE was one of a group of people to got rallied together to save the theatre when it was threatened by closure in 1979.

The High Peak Theatre Trust was set up to run the Opera House as a charity, and Michael has been its chairman since 2005, however he is standing down from the board in May.

The building, designed by famous architect Frank Matcham, was in a poor state of repair by the late 1970s. Operating as a cinema, with only occasional live performances, and a leaking roof it was facing closure.

Michael commented: “The greatest difficulty we had to overcome was the thought that it would be impossible to raise the money. But we knew if we could keep the running costs to a minimum, we would be able to recruit volunteers locally to help us get the theatre open again.

“I’m thrilled to bits at how the Opera House has developed. I never dreamt when we started out in 1979 that we’d have the kind of the programme we have now. The Opera House draws people in from all over the country, and it’s something of which I’m immensely proud.’’

Applications are now being invited for a new chairman and directors for the board. Details of the positions and how to apply can be found at