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 0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council,
Allerdale House,
CA14 3YJ

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news release


Rediscovering part of West Cumbria’s musical history

10 July 2013

Work is underway on a £220,000 refurbishment project at Workington’s Carnegie Theatre.

But this is more than just a simple renovation project - it is hoped that the initiative will mark the renaissance of Monroe’s bar, which was once famed on the national music circuit, particularly for its rock gigs.

The moves are part of a commitment by the building’s owners, Allerdale Borough Council, to invest in the Grade II listed building. This is phase two of the theatre’s transformation – £250,000 was spent last year on the main theatre space.

Work has begun to remove the old fixtures and fittings, which were unsympathetic later additions. Bricked-up windows will be opened up and double glazing installed, the old stage will be replaced with a new one at the opposite end of the room, new LED lighting will be installed which can be altered to change the ambience of the room depending on whether the venue is hosting a private party or a band night, and a custom-designed bar will be fitted making better use of the space.

Karen Thompson, Carnegie Theatre Manager, said: “We want this to be the rebirth of Monroe’s. It was once famous for its gigs – they were fantastic nights out – and the brand Monroe’s still carries a great weight with music fans locally. There’s a lot more competition now, particularly from the pubs in town who put on live music, but we think there’s room for a great live music venue with quality lighting and sound and a great atmosphere to boot.

“And as well as giving people great entertainment, Monroe’s will be available for hire for a whole host of purposes, from home-grown music promoters to individuals looking to celebrate birthdays, marriages, christenings or anniversaries. We will be able to provide a fantastic facility for all of those – and more.”

As well as transforming the venue’s bar, the refurbishment will also reconfigure the theatre’s foyer, opening up the space to make it more accessible to visitors and removing dated windows and fittings. The colour scheme of red, cream and gold from the theatre will be continued through the bar and foyer, and contemporary artwork will revive the Monroe’s theme.

Councillor Mark Fryer, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive Member for Economic Growth, added: “This is a really exciting time for the Carnegie and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this new phase of the Council’s investment.

“We made a commitment in our election manifesto to invest in this historic building, and devote time and energy to securing its future success. With the huge range of entertainment and cultural activities it offers, it is a vital part of West Cumbria’s arts and leisure scene and we want to see it go from strength to strength.”

The refurbishment work is due to be completed by the beginning of September when Little Shop of Horrors hits the stage, courtesy of Workington and District Amateur Musical Society. Tickets are on sale now – call the box office on 01900 602122 or book online at

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Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ