Thursday 24 May 2018

'We want people to leave with a smile' - Dublin's newest tourism experience unveiled (and it's for locals too)

From l to r CEO Paul Blanchfield and Creative Director Gerald Heffernan.
From l to r CEO Paul Blanchfield and Creative Director Gerald Heffernan.

Kathy Armstrong and Donal Corkery

IRELAND'S rich history is set to come to life in an exciting new interactive theatre experience, featuring characters such as Molly Malone and Bram Stoker.

The old Augistinian St John's National School in Dublin 8 is undergoing a €5 million revamp as it is being transformed into a new attraction called The Vaults.

The Vaults is set to open its doors this June, groups of up to 35 people will enjoy hour long tours, passing through six state of the art sets, each featuring real and imagined events from Ireland's 800 year history, with scripts penned by playwright Peter Sheridan.

Among the characters are a sadistic torturer, Dracula author Bram Stoker, Molly Malone and a settled viking.

The Vaults has been developed by Frontier Entertainment and will create 50 jobs, half of which are acting roles, making this the country's largest employer of full time performing artists.

Call-back auditions were being held today in Dublin's Lir Theatre and Producer Gerald Heffernan told Independent.ie that he feels the attraction will offer something for everyone.

He said: "It's our take on aspects of Irish history, it's funny, there's a little bit of horror involved and there's a love affair.

"What we want is for people to come away at the end with a smile on their face and maybe a slightly different take on aspects of Irish history."

He also gave an insight into what The Vaults team are looking for in their actors.

Mr Heffernan said: "We're looking for actors who can communicate with a small audience in an immersive and intimate way, who are excited about the prospect of doing something different.

"We also want people who enjoy the prospect of being part of a theatre company."

Director Conor Hanratty got involved last autumn and said he is excited to be involved in this project.

He said: "In the theatre work there has been a lot of immersive work over the past ten years or so, we've such a rich history and so many stories to tell and share, so it's just a case of marrying the two.

"We're going to have a new visitor experience in the city that doesn't revolve around alcohol."

Former broadcaster and serial entrepreneur Paul Blanchfield, who is Chief Executive of Frontier Entertainment, said he thinks the Vaults will be prove popular with the public.

Mr Blanchfield said: "The business was based on rethinking what culturally curious domestic and overseas guests are searching for and receive from Dublin’s current paid attractions.

"Three years ago, we identified a significant competitive gap in the current menu which we are now about to successfully address.

"Feedback from tourism experts and tour operators has been very positive so far and we’re really looking forward to opening our doors to the public with our official grand opening set for 30 June."

Once open, The Vaults will offer up to 30 shows per day.

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