New 500-seat theatre venue proposed for Dublin city centre

The proposed all-purpose theatre space would have a capacity of 500. Pic: Getty images

Amy Blaney

A new 500-seat theatre venue is being proposed for Dublin in a bid to revitalise the night time economy in the city centre.

Dublin City Council has commissioned a conceptual feasibility report to examine the demand for a space that could accommodate a variety of art forms, from theatre to dance or a late-night music venue.

The 500-seat venue has the working title of the “City Theatre of Tomorrow” and work is now under way to determine how it would affect other venues and how profitable it would be.

Although no site has yet been chosen for the potential venue, DCC have said it would be located “within the bounds of the canals”.

DCC Arts Office launched a survey earlier this month to collect feedback from artists and promoters on the proposed new venue.

However, DJ and nightlife campaigner Sunil Sharpe said he was “disappointed” that not all stakeholders were consulted.

“When this conversation started about a 500-seat venue, this was coming on the back of rapid loss of dance venues in the city,” he told councillors on Monday.

“It is saying that it has liaised with all the relevant stakeholders, but it hasn’t liaised with all the stakeholders.

“I hear now today that the consultation is closed…. Has there been any consolation with our community, with club owners, with electronic music artists? I don’t think so, I haven't heard anyone talk about this.

“There is the potential here to do everything within the same space or in a number of adjoining spaces.

“I do think there should be a little bit more consultation and I would have a big question as to why that stakeholder consultation is ending before we have any chance to give the feedback from our community.

“I’m very surprised at this and very disappointed. We need dance spaces as well, we need all purpose multi-use spaces, including for the use of music and not just stage shows, but we can do it all within the one space,” he added.

The Royal Danish Playhouse in Denmark was examined as part of the design process

Similarly scaled venues such as the O’Reilly Theatre, The Helix and Grange Gorman Concert Hall are currently being reviewed to examine their performance, design features and programming contribution, and the impact a further operating venue may serve.

Arrow Architects has been appointed to design the project and reviewed three multi-purpose venues in Europe for best examples for the design.

This included the The Royal Danish Playhouse in Denmark, the Plassen Cultural Centre in Norway and the The Fire Station Auditorium in Sunderland, England.

Stakeholder interviews will now take place to gather further insights from producers, venue operators, funders and performance artists across the city on both the design and technical preferences of the sector.

The feasibility study is expected to be completed with design proposals in June.