University Concert Hall set to unveil newly refurbished Compton Cinema Pipe Organ for first time in 20 years for Culture Night 2021

  • UCH Compton Cinema Pipe Organ - Culture Night

University Concert Hall (UCH) is delighted to announce that its Compton Cinema Pipe Organ, in situ since the venue’s inception in 1993 but which has been silent since 1999, is playing once more, following the first phase of its restoration, and will take centre stage for this year’s Culture Night at UCH.

The amazing Compton Cinema Organ will take centre stage for Classics & Chaplin on the Compton Organ this coming Friday 17th for two free shows at 1.30pm and 7pm. With celebrated organist Richard Hills performing a truly delightful medley of light classics and popular tunes from both stage and screen, showcasing this stunning instrument to perfection.

In the 2nd half of the concert one of Charlie Chaplin’s funniest films, The Pawnshop, will be screened with organ accompaniment by Richard. Renowned as one of the most popular shorts Charlie Chaplin made for Mutual, The Pawnshop features the famous “alarm clock” sequence as well as what is regarded as an inspired use of stop-motion photography.

Sinead Hope, UCH Director said “After extensive refurbishment, Phase I of the organ’s restoration programme has now been completed and we couldn’t think of a better way to reintroduce it than as part of Culture Night 2021 and our re-opening following 18-months of closures. This will be a wonderful occasion to welcome audiences back to UCH and to hear this beautiful instrument be played for the first time in over 20 years. It’s a truly unique opportunity to learn more about the fascinating history of the only surviving and fully complete Compton Organ in Ireland, as well as hearing it played in the way it was originally intended”

The Compton Organ was originally situated in the Savoy Theatre Cork until its closure in 1975. Following this the Compton Organ was kept in private storage until 1983 when the Savoy Theatre Organ Preservation Society (STOPS) purchased the organ in the hopes of re-homing it in a theatre once again. In 1990, at the request of the founding President of UL, Dr. Ed Walsh, Wells-Kennedy Partnership installed the Compton Organ at UCH where it has remained to this day. The organ fell silent in 1999, requiring extensive technical refurbishment, the first phase of which has been completed by the Paul Kirner’s Theatre Organ Collection from Wales with funding from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the University.

Bringing the Compton Cinema Organ back to life for the first time in 20 years, Richard Hills has had a prestigious career in the theatre organ world and was named ‘Organist of the Year’ in 2010 by the American Theatre Organ Society. He has appeared many times as a soloist on TV and Radio including BBC Radio 3’s ‘Choral Evensong’ and BBC Radio 2’s ‘Friday Night is Music Night’. He made his solo debut at the BBC Proms in 2013.

Please note that this Culture Night performance will take place at reduced capacity and will run in line with government restrictions in place at the time. See for full ticketholder guidelines.

University Concert Hall, Limerick. Tickets are free but pre-booking is essential. Booking:  I  Phone 061 213302, Wednesday to Friday, 1pm-5.30pm.

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