www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Photo by Peter Mould

Photo Polo Piatti by Peter Mould

The Opus Theatre

The Opus Theatre will be launched in July 2017 and operate in the beautiful Grade II listed building of the former Congregational Church (presently His Place) at 24-25 Cambridge Rd, Hastings Town Centre. HOT’s Sean O’Shea talks to composer and musical director, Polo Piatti about the purpose of this new project, his hopes for its development and the range of activities which will be hosted at the venue.

 Create Beauty, Speak Truth and Do Good.

Opus Theatre motto

***

What has been your inspiration for this project?

Due to some recent logistical problems I have been forced to stop a regular event I was running at the local Royal Vic called ‘Classicus Talks’. A local pianist and friend of mine quickly suggested that we should try to move the event to a certain church, located in the town centre that had a grand piano in it. It turned out that only a few people knew the church in question. As soon as I saw the place myself, with its glorious but hidden beauty and, in time, discovered its fantastic acoustics, I saw the venue’s enormous potential.

Knowing that Hastings desperately needs a venue like this I approached the building’s trustees who, more or less spontaneously, believed in my vision and decided to accept my offer to create a new, autonomous and independent theatre. Considering my profession as a classical composer, the best name that soon came to mind was Opus (meaning ‘work’ in the musical language) because I consider this as a new creation/work, and one that I am undertaking with great excitement. After some planning and a few discussions, the Opus Theatre concept was born.

Who are some of the people involved with you in its development?

When I started with the planning of this venture I found myself totally on my own, doing everything at my own risk – a very spontaneous decision based on a vision. But as I received the green light to start the theatre, I started calling people I know and value. These were friends that helped me with some of my other projects, including the Hastings International Composers Festival, the Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra (which I founded in 2012) and of course, The Classicus Talks. A large number of people are now involved with the Opus Theatre and everyone has been allocated a responsibility. They are all close friends of mine and people I trust implicitly with this type of project.

Opus Theatre. Photo by Peter Mould

Opus Theatre. Photo by Peter Mould

Could you describe what attracted you to this particular venue?

First the architecture of the place, but also its energy, which is really special. Visually, the building reminds me of an old Music Hall. This is not just a coincidence considering that the building’s architecture and interior belong to the same period, i.e. the 1880’s. But the deciding factor has been the venue’s acoustics, which are truly exceptional. I have performed in the venue with numerous musicians and singers several times already and we all agree that the acoustics are second-to-none. I’ve discovered that the building was originally built to be a Congregational Church in which the spoken word is paramount, so the acoustics needed to be impeccable. That’s probably the reason for the ceilings design, the curved pews, the bended wood above the stage area, and other important factors in the acoustics of a place.

What range of artistic activities do you plan to host at the Opus Theatre?

At the centre of everything we do at the Opus will be good quality. We plan to attract good acts from most artistic disciplines, including classical concerts and recitals, theatre, opera, dance, art films, acoustic acts, literary and poetry events and talks. We will also offer the space to courses, workshops and rehearsals for the community.

How might interested artists access the venue?

By contacting us directly via the website (see below). Depending on their interests or requirements we can refer them to the right person within our team.

What are some of the ways people can contribute?

We are still looking for volunteers that would like to help us make the Opus a great success. We need people that are able to help as stewards, with the cafe, and with light and sound operations. We also need donations to repair the existing pipe organ, etc. (For contact details see website below.)

When will the theatre be launched?

In July 2017, by private invitation.

What is your longer term vision for the Opus Theatre?

From the beginning, I want to concentrate on offering quality in an inclusive way. Since Hastings doesn’t have many medium-to-large venues, the Opus should fill that gap perfectly. Obviously, we will need the support of the public, and if local people come to our events and hire the venue they will make it a success. We’ve got enquiries from London and beyond already so, this is absolutely possible. I want the people of Hastings to be proud of having the Opus Theatre in town.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers about this project?

At Opus we’ve got a motto: ‘Create Beauty, Speak Truth and Do Good’, as described in Plato’s transcendental properties of beings.  I firmly believe that these three factors can contribute to a better world especially now where the very opposites, egoism, materialism and hedonism seem to have become the prominent features of human civilization. As Dostoevsky once said, beauty will save the world. Now that we’ve got a new theatre we can try proving it.

 

Contact details

You can visit Polo’s official website at www.polopiatti.com and the theatre’s website at: www.opustheatre.co.uk

SOS

June 2017

Posted 05:50 Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 In: SOS

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