Rosehill Theatre is nearing completion of a £2.7m redevelopment.
Work is due to finish next month to allow for the opening of a 60-cover first-floor restaurant in late April, with a new programme of performances in the revamped auditorium expected from May.
The restaurant’s head chef will be Jon Fell, who has previously worked at Sella Park Country House Hotel, Muncaster Castle and The White Mare in Beckermet.
Creating 15 catering and hospitality positions and eight jobs in the theatre side, the 18-month project has also resulted in an updated foyer and backstage facilities, as well as a new landscaped car park and grounds.
Richard Elder, director of Rosehill, said: “This isn’t a refurbishment, it’s a transformation. There’s been nothing on this scale since the theatre opened in 1959.
“Jon’s appointment as head chef is very exciting. His talent and standards are without doubt as is his commitment to the development of young people which is such an important part of our plans.
“We are all very excited that he is joining the team in such an important new role.’’
Jon said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as the first head chef of the new restaurant at Rosehill.
“This gives me a wonderful opportunity to develop a kitchen and restaurant from scratch working with the team at Rosehill and all the great work they have done in getting to this point.’’
The staffing of the restaurant will include apprenticeship and first job opportunity for students and graduates from Lakes College at Lillyhall.
Renovation of the theatre is just the first phase of the project. Depending on funding, a second phase would also see a courtyard theatre created from a barn next to Rosehill.
The redevelopment has been financed by funders include Britain’s Energy Coast, Copeland Community Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Linbury Trust, WREN, J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Savoy Educational Trust and National Grid.