Church transformed into artistic hub

AN ANCIENT church inthe heart of Cork city has been transformed into one of the country’s most exciting multi-purpose arts and cultural hubs.

Christchurch on South Main Street, which dates from the 18th Century, will open its doors as a state-of-the-art 250-seat concert, cinema and exhibition venue on April 15 with a weekend-long arts gala.

The €4.8 million restoration and refurbishment was supported by Cork City Council, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Southern and Eastern Regional Assembly.

City manager Tim Lucey said its opening will be a momentous day for the city. “In this age of austerity, Cork City Council’s redevelopment of Christchurch is a massive statement of confidence in the arts.”

The centre will be managed for the council by Triskel, whose arts centre next door has been linked to the church by a glazed section.

The restoration has allowed Triskel to expand its artistic offering to include:

- A theatre development space operated by internationally renowned award-winning theatre company, Corcadorca, which has secured the services of Enda Walsh, Cillian Murphy and Eileen Walsh as lead figures.

- A visual arts space managed by The Black Mariah.

- A shop for Plugd Records, one of the country’s last independent record stores.

- Gulpd cafe, run by Plugd Records.

- An art-house cinema screening independent films four days a week.

Triskel’s artistic director, Tony Sheehan, said the new complex is the realisation of a dream which began in 1984.

“The new complex represents a fundamental transformation of Triskel into a beautiful state-of-the-art concert and exhibition venue for Cork.

“Together, we look forward to being at the heart of creativity in the city in the years ahead.”

The weekend-long opening celebration will feature the world-premier of composer John Gibson’s original score, Christchurch Music.

Sculptor and visual artist Vivienne Roche will exhibit a free show inspired by the light which pours into the church.

And a musical work, Being Dufay, by Ambrose Field and sung by tenor John Potter, will be premiered, free.

Lisa Hannigan will perform on May 6, Ger Wolfe on May 7, and The Fold event on May 17 and 18 will feature improvised and experimental music.

The National Youth Choir will perform on July 1 and Carnegie Hall’s composer in residence, and jazz piano legend, Brad Mehldau, will perform on September 13.

- www.triskelartscentre.ie.

Picture: Valerie O’Sullivan, director of service, Cork City Council, and Tony Sheehan, director of Triskel Arts Centre, at the gates of Christchurch, South Main Street, Cork. Picture: Denis Scannell

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