Sunday 25 February 2018

The Glens Centre with its rich and diverse heritage is about to get a major facelift

"We want to keep people here, bring people back and bring new people in," says Susan McKay when speaking about the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton.

And that task could be about to get a whole lot easier thanks to funding which has just been secured for a major renovation project due to get underway in the coming weeks.

During a visit to the impressive venue last Tuesday, Director Susan McKay showed me her vision for the future of the historic building.

Once a place of worship, the former Methodist Church is now owned by the North Leitrim Glens Development Company. The community group funded by Pobal and the Arts Council has ambitious plans for the space.

The 120 seat capacity auditorium with its original church windows is to be revamped with new 'comfortable' seating and state of the art sound and lighting equipment.

"The place has not been done up since the 1990's but we've just been given €50,000 from the Department of Arts to do work. We have to add €25,000 of our own funding to that figure. We've also received €25,000 from the dormant account fund.

"As well as new seating, we will be getting a new bar area, lobby and ticket office and a new sign at the front," says Susan.

The director who lives in Glencar and is originally from Derry has her own ideas about a sign: "I would like a pink neon sign on this very old building. It would draw your attention to it and the place would stand out as an arts centre rather than just an old Church."

As for a timeline, she explains: "The planning permission has come through. The work will be going out to tender this week. We've already ordered our new comfortable seats."

Technical Director Ray Duffy adds: "This project will enhance and restore this old building, making an asset out of the original structure."

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