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Taking Part

Taking Part: Creative Connections

Creative Connections: opening out the unique and intriguing heritage of Rosehill Theatre.

Creative Connections is inspired by the collaboration between Oliver Messel, a leading theatre designer of the 20th century and Sir Nicholas Sekers, a Hungarian who was invited by the British Government to establish a silk mill to provide work for the unemployed at Whitehaven, then a declining port on the West Cumbrian coast.

The partnership led to the creation of fabrics that were used throughout the fashion industry and were key to the New Look that swept the world. As the partnership developed, Sekers collaborated with Messel to create Rosehill Theatre which opened in September 1959. The interior has been described as 'a rose-red silk-lined jewel box' and forms part of our unique cultural heritage at the core of our new Rosehill Reimagined theatre.

A new publication, Rosehill: A History in Design accompanies the programme's exhibition and charts Rosehill’s connections to theatre and fashion design, bringing together the glamour of stage and fashion with industry and manufacturing and explores the creative collaborations that enabled the cultural growth of West Cumbria.

Our programme of workshops, exhibitions and talks over the next 12 months with schools and local communities will enable us to interpret our heritage in fresh ways, allowing more people to engage with it and understand the way it has shaped their local environment and culture.

We also want to provide the opportunity for you to tell us about your connections to our heritage so that we can document them as part of our heritage moving forward. If you have a story to share, please get in touch, we would love to hear it. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01946 692422.

Our exciting project has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for which we are very grateful.

The exhibition can be viewed for free throughout opening hours.

Copies of Rosehill: A History in Design are for sale at £5, available from the box office (open from one hour before performances as well as 12-5pm Monday-Friday and 2-7pm Saturday). Call 01946 692422 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you wish to purchase a copy remotely (postal charges apply).


The Strange World of Pierrot Flour - a design by Lindsay Kemp

Performance times and tickets

  • Exhibition open:
    Monday - Tuesday • 12-5pm
    Wednesday - Saturday • 12-8.45pm
    Sunday • 12-3.45pm

  • Tickets

We are grateful to the following organisations for capital funding:

We are grateful to the following organisations for revenue funding:


We are grateful to the following organisations for their in kind support: