Thursday 15 January 2009

The Gate Expands

The Stage reports that Dublin's Gate Theatre has opened its €6 million wing, which took three years to fund and build.

The expansion provides not just a rehearsal room and a workshop area for set assembly, but also storage space for the Gate’s important theatre archive and accommodation for production and office staff. In addition, the new wing includes a theatre laboratory to be used by playwrights for work in progress and to encourage creative talent.

A high-profile committee had been established to raise funds for the project from private sources. The Department of Arts contributed €2.2 million to the cost and the Ireland Fund, an international support group of people of Irish ancestry, donated €300,000. The opening of the new wing marked a triple success at the Gate. The theatre has just celebrated its 80th anniversary, while director Michael Colgan also had cause for celebration, having chalked up 25 years in charge.

First to benefit from the new facilities are director Alan Stanford and his cast for Tom Stoppard's award-winning play, The Real Thing. It is currently in rehearsal at the Gate and is due to open there early next month.

Meanwhile, another award-winning playwright, Dublin's Conor McPherson, has booked a place in the new theatre lab to work on his latest project, an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's The Birds. The world premiere of the play will be staged at the Gate later this year.

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