The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Séamus Brennan T.D., has announced that that an International Design Competition will be held over the coming months to select a design for the new National Theatre (the Abbey) to be built in the Dublin Dockland's at George's Dock.
Minister Brennan said that, when completed, the new waterside building will give Dublin an iconic and dynamic structure reflecting the city's growing reputation as a global capital of culture and creativity.
Minister Brennan also unveiled the 13 members of the jury for the International Design Competition that includes architects from Ireland, Great Britain and Holland with vast experience of - and involvement in - high-profile design projects, as well as eminent figures from the theatrical world with many years' experience and outstanding achievement in the theatre.
It is intended that the public will be given the opportunity to make known their views when a shortlist of submitted designs are put on public display ahead of a decision on a final design for the new National Theatre.
The new National Theatre will be a centrepiece of a new wave of cultural, social and economic amenities that are being developed in the Dublin Docklands - including the new National Convention Centre, the Grand Canal Theatre, the CHQ building, the Point Village and the U2 Tower.
The new Abbey Theatre will be over 24,000 square metres and will have three theatres, several rehearsal spaces, public and social spaces - including shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, facilities for performers and staff, gallery and exhibition facilities - and a cinema/lecture facility.
The three different auditoria will provide diverse opportunities for artists and writers. Currently, the Abbey can provide an average of 632 seats (across two auditoria) on any one night. The new building will provide audiences with more choices and a greater opportunity to see more diverse work with plans for some 1,000 seats across three auditoria. It is envisaged that each of the theatres will have their own foyer, auditorium, stage, dressing rooms, crew/staff rooms and technical control rooms.
The Minister said the appointment of the jury - and the publication of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) in the Official Journal of the European Union announcing outline details of the International Competition - marks significant progress in the development of the new National Theatre.
It is expected that the design competition will be completed by the middle of 2008.