Saturday 21 April 2018

Stage is set for major revamp of The Abbey

Fela Lufadeju, Witney White and Harrison Wilding rehearsing for Emma Donoghue’s recent stage adaptation of Room at the Abbey Theatre which is now set for a revamp. Photo: Mark Stedman
Fela Lufadeju, Witney White and Harrison Wilding rehearsing for Emma Donoghue’s recent stage adaptation of Room at the Abbey Theatre which is now set for a revamp. Photo: Mark Stedman

Gordon Deegan

The Abbey Theatre has appointed UK consultants BOP Consulting to set out the business case for a major multimillion euro redevelopment of the theatre.

The Abbey is planning to demolish its existing theatre and several surrounding properties it has recently acquired and build a new theatre and arts campus.

The proposed new building will house two expanded spaces: a flagship 700-seat theatre and a 250-seat space. A new cafe and restaurant are planned, along with extra rehearsal spaces and a creative arts hub.

The value of the works is set to be more than €20m as the Abbey advised those tendering that it is important that the methodologies to be used meet the Government's requirements for a large project of over €20m capital value. The preferred option for the redevelopment must be accompanied by a detailed financial model which demonstrates how the expanded Abbey Theatre will achieve financial sustainability.

Some design feasibility has already been undertaken and the Abbey has appointed BOP Consulting to develop a sustainable business plan and draw up a proposal to justify a significant public sector investment in the plan.

BOP Consulting is an international consultancy specialising in culture and the creative economy.

Its clients include the Smithsonian Institute in the United States, the European Commission and the City of London.

A spokeswoman for the Abbey said yesterday that eight parties tendered for the work, comprising three Irish firms, four Irish-based branches of international firms and one international company.

The Abbey declined to reveal the value of the contract with BOP Consulting stating that it is confidential.

The spokeswoman revealed that BOP has already started work and will be finished towards the end of this year. She said: "We are planning to redevelop on our current site as the building is inadequate for artists, audiences and staff."

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