Gerald Kean: opera supremo

Celebrity lawyer Gerald Kean has revealed plans to use his extensive contacts in the music business to attract performers to Cork Opera House.

Recently appointed as a director of the 150-year-old venue, the Cork-born solicitor says one of his first priorities will be to act as unofficial booker for the world famous municipal theatre.

He told the Sunday Tribune: "I'm thinking about acts I've worked with down through the years. The idea is to have something going on every night because we need to fill up a few nights."

Brought in to help raise the profile of the theatre, Kean (51) says that in addition he hopes to secure more funding from the Arts Council for the auditorium which he says is well short of the funding given to the rival Wexford Opera House.

"The Arts Council have been very good to us but we need more assistance from them. I know the portion we get in Cork is very small and it's way less for example, then the funding given to Wexford Opera House. I think what we have in Cork is an extraordinary venue and it deserves support," said Kean.

To raise more funds the theatre is now offering patrons the chance to sponsor seats with Kean himself buying two seats, at a cost of €750, in memory of his parents, Gerald and Patricia.

"I would encourage all Cork people around the country to do this not just for late relatives but for their children who might one day want to enjoy such a marvellous facility."

President McAleese will be present at a gala re-opening celebration of Cork Opera House due to take place on Wednesday 10 June. The revamped venue now includes a refurbished foyer and bars.