by Madeleine McMullin
News from around the region, collated from local sources.
Future of Perpignan’s municipal theatre in dispute
The council is planning to share the use of the municipal theatre in the Place de la République between the university which is moving back into the town centre in 2020 and is in need of an extra 400 places in a lecture theatre during the week, and a venue for shows at the weekend. The theatre currently seats 549, but the group “Sauvons le théatre municipal” (Save the municipal theatre) says that in order for it to conform to the norms for a place of education, the balcony will be out of bounds leaving only room for 217, and worse, it may need to be radically altered with a central aisle put in further reducing seating capacity. They point out that the theatre was one of the earliest Italianate theatres in France and want it listed. The mayor agrees about its architectural importance but disagrees about the fact that the dual use will damage it. He says that they are going to restore it from its current state of disrepair, and his experts say that they can get more seating space by reducing the size of the orchestra pit. Sauvons le théatre municipal has put a petition online calling for the project to be abandoned with over 8200 signatures to date.
Musée de Byrrh appeal
The district (communauté de communes) of Aspres – Thuir has launched an appeal to try to save the giant vats in the Byrrh museum which are in need of repair due to the wood drying out and the metal hoops deteriorating. 65,000 people a year visit the museum which has been run by the district since 2011, but they are €1 million short of the amount needed for repairs. There are two ways of contributing: the first is by making a donation via the Fondation du Patrimoine. The second is via the crowd funding site tudigo which is available from 29th November. Donations will allow people to get various benefits, ranging from a personal invitation to cocktails and wine. Comments on the site of L’Independant were rather critical saying that Pernod Byrrh should be paying and not the public.
Puppies stolen from SPA are ill
Somebody broke into the SPA in Perpignan on Wednesday night/Thursday morning (22nd/23rd Nov) and stole 4 pups from their cages. The pups are ill and need treatment. The SPA has put out an appeal on social media to try to get the puppies returned. It is not the first time that the refuge has been broken into and dogs stolen.
Sommelier school at Banyuls sur Mer
A project to establish the first sommelier school in the Occitan region at Banyuls sur Mer is underway. The pilot committee met in Banyuls on the 21st November to discuss progress. The project is a collaboration between the town of Thuir and the districts of Aspres and ACVI, and is being supported by the region and the state. The feasibility studies by L’atelier bleu and the architects Kapaa will be ready in January 2018. The next step will be a consultation for the works on the two sites which will be used: the old Byrrh estate in Thuir and the Mas Reig at Banyuls. Work should start at the beginning of 2019. The cooperation between the two sites will be done through the Hotelier lycée in Argeles which will be a major player in setting up the school. The school will have 3 main objectives: to be open to young people via the lycée, to be a training centre for professionals in the world of wine and to train people to be sommeliers. It will also target wine tourism through short stays open to the public.