Saturday 16 November 2019

New theatre plans to get more bucks for its Bang

Workmen stand in the new 2,000 - seater Grand Canal Theatre, which officially opens in March with the sold-out Swan Lake.
Workmen stand in the new 2,000 - seater Grand Canal Theatre, which officially opens in March with the sold-out Swan Lake.

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

HARRY Crosbie is bringing the West End to Dublin -- and he hopes 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' will make him big bucks.

More than 80,000 tickets have already sold for events at the city's new Grand Canal Theatre -- eight weeks ahead of opening.

The 2,111-seat venue, located in Dublin's Docklands, is the country's largest purpose-built theatre. American architect Daniel Libeskind designed the building, which houses a three-tier auditorium with seven bars and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Liffey.


Russian State Ballet's production 'Swan Lake' has already sold out for the March 18 opening night.

Theatre general manager Stephen Faloon said the aim is to "entertain people", but crucially to fill the auditorium "to the max".

"We're populist and we don't wish to hide that," he said.

Musicians Christy Moore, Ronan Keating, Gilbert O'Sullivan, magician Derren Brown and Mario Rosenstock's 'Gift Grub' are among the shows booked for the venue. Tickets are also selling for 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' -- the musical that ran for four years at the London Palladium.

"We are being approached daily now by West End and international producers, which will ensure that the Grand Canal Theatre will feature the best productions which were previously unable to tour the country," Mr Faloon said. "Ireland has been crying out for a space of this type."

The venue has the largest theatrical stage in the country -- 106ft wide and 46ft deep. There are unobstructed views in a three-tier auditorium.

"It doesn't feel like a 2,111-seat theatre, it feels much, much smaller because we kept a sense of intimacy to keep the viewing lines in the audience absolutely perfect," said Mr Faloon.

Workmen put finishing touches on the inside of the theatre yesterday after three years of construction.

Flat screen televisions and sofa beds will be placed inside "star dressing rooms". It also has its own wig room, specially designed for West End shows. There's also going to be a huge oven that you can put your wig in to heat it up and get it in that rigid position before you go on stage," added Mr Faloon

When it opens, 22 full-time staff -- and a further 100 on show nights -- will be hired. Amphitheatre Ireland, part of Live Nation Ireland, on behalf of Harry Crosbie, has taken out a 200-year leasehold on the facility.

"We are extremely happy with the advance ticket sales so far -- they're well ahead of our most optimistic projections," Mike Adams, CEO of Live Nation Ireland, said.

Irish Independent

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