The Gate Theatre

  • Location: Parnell Square
  • Architect: Scott Tallon Walker
  • Completed: 2008

Located in the cultural and social heart of the city the Gate Theatre has been, both artistically and architecturally, a landmark building in Dublin for over two hundred years. It was established as a theatre in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir. Under their guidance, the Gate offered Dublin audiences a first introduction to the world of European and American avant garde theatre as well as vibrant productions from the modern and classic Irish repertoire. It was at the Gate that such luminaries as Orson Welles and James Mason began their prodigious acting careers. Today the theatre continues to attract the finest of creative talent and offers a stimulating and inclusive programme, appealing to theatregoers of all generations and from a broad spectrum of the population. The theatre is unique in that it has had only two artistic directorates in the last 75 years.

In December 1983 the directorship of the Gate passed to Michael Colgan, under whose guidance the artistic reputation of the theatre has continued to flourish at home and abroad. In 1991 the Gate became the first theatre in the world to present a full retrospective of the nineteen stage plays of Samuel Beckett.  The Gate also offered its audiences three separate festivals of the works of Harold Pinter, the first theatre in Europe to do such retrospectives. Over the last twenty years the Gate has successfully showcased Irish writing, acting and general theatrical talent by continually touring productions of the highest quality to theatres the world over.The Gate has also established unique relationships with renowned playwrights such as Bernard Farrell, Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Conor McPherson, and Mark O'Rowe.

The Gate Building Development Project

The Gate Theatre is located in a beautiful 18th century building. Since its inception, the Gate has continued to refurbish, improve and expand. This process of change has been vital to guarantee the survival of the Theatre. However, because the fact that the Gate was not  custom built theatre  created very great practical difficulties. There was no dedicated storage space for props or costumes; no rehearsal space; a very cramped box office; almost no office space; a workshop that was smaller than the size of a suburban garage; and a get-in facility that involved sets being built in small sections, manually lifted up a narrow staircase, through a narrow doorway and reassembled on stage.

The Gate's architects, Scott Tallon Walker evolved an inspired plan, which , at a stroke, resolved all these difficulties in a  new design that enhanced not only the theatre but Parnell Square as a whole.

The Gate received major support  from the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism through The ACCESS Funds who granted €2.2 million towards the cost of the project, and  The Ireland Funds who contributed a very generous leadership gift of €300,000 to the development.
The cost of this project was in excess of €4 million. The theatre embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise the remaining funds for this development by establishing a Fundraising Committee. This new development will help ensure the Gate continues to flourish as an internationally renowned hub of creative endeavour for decades to come.

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Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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