|14th October 2003|
Druid today welcomed the news that members of Galway City Council agreed on Monday night to provide funding of €150,000 over the next three years towards the refurbishment of the company’s venue at Chapel Lane, Galway.
The City Council’s Corporate Policy Group had recommended the funding, which along with Druid’s own fundraising efforts and the €635,000 grant awarded in 2001 by the then Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will allow Druid proceed with alterations and refurbishment of the two adjoining two-storey buildings that currently serves as the company’s theatre and rehearsal space. The repair of the building and the renewal of its facilities are essential if Druid is to continue to base its activities in the city centre.
Druid Managing Director Fergal Mc Grath said ‘the support of Galway City Council at this time is very welcome, providing one of the final pieces in a very important funding jigsaw that secures the future of Druid at the heart of Galway. The support of the City Council and the generosity of the Mc Donogh family (who had donated the premises at Chapel Lane to Druid in 1996 to mark the company’s 21st birthday) would provide Galway with a creative space of which Galway could be proud and would allow significant cultural activity to be maintained on the site where Druid was started in the 1970’s.’
Druid recently received planning permission to adapt the existing buildings to meet contemporary theatrical requirements. The proposed works comprise limited alterations to the existing warehouse/theatre buildings to refurbish the foyer, rehearsal, administration and performance space. The total cost of this archaeologically sensitive project will be €1.2m. The original fit-out of the warehouses was carried out by members of the company in 1979. There has been little done to the building since due to lack of funds, apart from running repairs and paint work..
The architectural approach of the refurbishments is to reinforce the authenticity of the existing warehouse structures, to retain them as integral structures. The strategy is based on the principle of conservation and repair. Architects O’Donnell & Tuomey ( renowned internationally for their work with cultural and educational centres including the Irish Film Centre and the National Photographic Centre) have produced an exciting design, highlighting the authenticity of the existing building yet providing Druid with the space and facilities to continue produce world class theatre.
Founded in 1975, Druid was the first professional theatre company in Ireland outside of Dublin. From its Galway home, the company has led the way over the past twenty eight years in the development of Irish theatre, performing in its home in Chapel Lane, elsewhere in Galway, Ireland and beyond. Druid has toured extensively at home and abroad, winning a formidable international reputation for both classical work and new work and making the company one of the most-well known in the English speaking world.