Thursday 5 June 2008

Abbey Progress

The Stage reports that the Irish government has awarded a €450,000 contract to British theatre consultants Charcoalblue to advise on the planning and building of the new Abbey in Dublin's docklands.

According to a spokesman for the Office of Public Works, which has charge of the project, the competition details are still being finalised. He was unable to say when that part of the project would be completed, but felt the appointment of the consultants would speed up matters.

The lengthy delay has reopened the controversy over the location of the new Abbey, with some critics urging the government to look again at the Carlton site on O'Connell Street, where a major development is about to get under way, and which many feel would be a more suitable home for a national theatre.

There have also been concerns about the impact of the credit crunch on the project. The theatre is to be built under a public/private partnership arrangement, aimed at limiting state expenditure. But some developers have been pulling out of such schemes, citing the changed economic climate.

However, in awarding the Charcoalblue contract, the government is seen as signalling it is confident the project will go ahead.

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