Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., today announced that having approved a preliminary appraisal of the Abbey Theatre Development Project, work can now commence on the detailed appraisal stage of the project.

The building in which the National Theatre is housed is over 50 years old and is widely recognised as deficient in the facilities it provides for artists, audiences and staff and in terms of its energy efficiency.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht capital plan Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018 – 2027 provides for an indicative investment of €80 million for this redevelopment project. The redevelopment will honour the theatre’s history and legacy, whilst matching the national theatres of other European Capital Cities.

The detailed appraisal will see the Abbey Theatre prepare the documentation required under the Public Spending Code and the Theatre will now procure expertise to assist in this task. Through Project Ireland 2040 the Government is investing €460m in Ireland’s National Cultural Institutions to revamp and modernise their facilities both in terms of visitor experience and storage of our national collections.

The Abbey Theatre, also known as the National Theatre of Ireland, first opened its doors to the public in 1904. It was founded by Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory and has played a vital role in the literary, social and cultural life of Ireland. The mission of the Abbey Theatre is to imaginatively engage with all of Irish society through the production of ambitious, courageous and new theatre in all its forms.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD said:

“I am delighted with the progress of the Abbey Theatre Redevelopment Project and look forward to this next significant step on the road to a new national theatre and the addition it will make to the cultural landscape. The €80m investment  will facilitate a fitting redevelopment, contributing to Ireland’s reputation as a centre for theatre as well as revitalising a key area in Dublin city centre.”

Commenting on the announcement, Directors of the Abbey Theatre, Graham McLaren and Neil Murray said:

“We are delighted to receive approval to move into the next stage of planning for a new Abbey Theatre for the artists and audience of Ireland. Our ambition is to build a major new cultural centre in the north inner-city, on a site which incorporates our present site at the junction of Abbey Street and Marlborough Street and extends to open out onto the River Liffey. The space will be a destination for artists to create and collaborate and an accessible hub of activity, for the public to experience, throughout the day and evening.”