A new theatre housed in the €30m multi-purpose Tara building at Limerick’s Mary Immaculate College will open with the Abbey Theatre’s production of Sean O’Casey’s Plough and the Stars.
The Lime Tree Theatre can seat 510 people and the Abbey production will be staged in October.
College president, Prof Michael Hayes, said the visit of the Abbey will be an important cultural milestone for Limerick City.
“In recent years the Abbey have toured to all major Irish cities, but have not performed in Limerick with a main stage production in over 20 years. This will be the first step in realising our ambition to attract the most exciting productions from local, national and international levels.
“Our higher-level education institutions play an increasingly important role as centres of lifelong learning, and access by the entire community to the best of theatre and performing arts will be an integral part of that role.
“The Lime Tree Theatre will be a venue for all the community, at the heart of the social, cultural and economic life of the city and its environs.”
The €1m fit-out of the theatre came from college funds.
The theatre manager, Louise Donlon, who has worked with the Druid in Galway and Island Theatre Group in Limerick, said: “This theatre will be a significant addition to the national cultural infrastructure and, most especially to the cultural, social and economic life of Limerick and the Mid-West.
“With the Lime Tree, Limerick returns to the national touring circuit for large-scale theatre performances and we are particularly thrilled to mark the official opening with a visit by the Abbey. But we will do much more than host large-scale, national, and international theatre.
“It will also welcome local and regional companies and performers in music, theatre, panto, schools performances, children’s theatre, and stage events.”
The Lime Tree is staging a programme during September which will include jazz, traditional music, and comedy.
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