Theatre and the City

The Abbey has been Ireland’s National Theatre since its foundation by WB Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory in 1904. Originally associated with poets and writers, Sean O’Casey and JM Synge, the Abbey has been closely related to the postindependence cultural progress of Ireland. The original building on Abbey Street burned down in the 1950s and was replaced by a modern building designed by Michael Scott in 1966. The building was extended in the 1980s and its performance space was further reconfigured in 2008. The possibility now exists to redevelop the Abbey on an extended site facing on to the river Liffey in Dublin’s city centre.

The intention of the project is to consider the place of theatre in the history of the city and its potential role in the public life of the contemporary city. Imaginative and culturally provocative proposals are invited in response to the real world brief for a new Abbey Theatre. The scope of study could include proposals for public space, opportunities for creative reuse, partial or total demolition of the 1960’s building, reconsideration of cultural programmes, strategies for a civic society. A new theatre is a complex and compelling practical challenge in architectural design. The Abbey has been central to the cultural and literary life of Dublin for more than a century. This is an invitation to imagine its future.

Irregular Schedule:
Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey will be meeting on an irregular schedule on Thursdays and Fridays with one optional exception, an optional class on November 25/26. Below are the planned times of Studio. Optional times outside of studio hours will be available and should be coordinated directly with them.

August 29/30, John and Sheila, GSD Options studio introduction/meet student group for initial briefing
September 12/13, John and Sheila, GSD tutorials
September 25 – 29, Students visit Dublin, Dublin Theatre Festival / Site visit / project briefing etc.
October 17/18, Sheila, GSD tutorials
October 31/November1, John and Sheila, GSD interim review
November 14/15, John, GSD tutorials
November 25/26 (Monday/Tuesday), John and Sheila, GSD tutorials (optional for students)