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Sunday 20 August 2017

Abbey Theatre to remain on current site as expansion planned

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE Abbey Theatre has reversed plans to move to a new site and instead bought an adjacent building to expand.

Theatre authorities originally intended relocate to a new site in the Docklands or GPO.



But today the board said it had purchased the building at 15-17 Eden Quay, which fronts onto the River Liffey and is located beside the current theatre.



The plan is to redevelop the theatre at some point in the future.



In September 1963, President Éamon de Valera laid the foundation stone to the Abbey Theatre on its current site at 26 Lower Abbey Street. The new building, designed by architect Michael Scott, re-opened its doors to the public on July 18, 1966.



A theatre had existed on the site since 1834.



Abbey director Fiach Mac Conghail said the purchase of the building was a “common-sense solution” which would secure the theatre at its current site.



“This is a proud day for the Abbey Theatre and a testament to the vision of our board and my management team,” he said.



“We have purchased this site next door so that we can redevelop, at some point in the future, a new building for the Abbey on our own site. Taking this opportunity to purchase this site now is a common sense solution to securing the future of the Abbey Theatre.”



The aging building is considered inadequate to meet the needs of actors and audiences, and has issues with disability access and health and safety standards.



The Abbey was forced to temporarily relocate to the O’Reilly Theatre in Belvedere College for nine weeks this summer while works were carried out to remove asbestos.



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