Asbestos work to close Abbey stage


THE AUDITORIUM in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre is to close for nine weeks this summer while asbestos is removed.

A run of Seán O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars will be transferred to the O’Reilly Theatre on Great Denmark Street from July 26th to September 15th while the work is carried out.

Other parts of the theatre are to remain open for business during the operation, with the auditorium due to reopen in time for the Dublin Theatre Festival.

The work is expected to cost some €450,000 and will be paid for by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

The Abbey Theatre said the asbestos posed no health risk to its staff or patrons and that weekly air-quality tests had shown this to be the case.

A spokeswoman for the Abbey said the asbestos was discovered during an inspection in January and that it had been liaising with the Health and Safety Authority about the matter since then.

“We have opted to fully remove the asbestos for the long-term safety of our staff because theatre involves a lot of technical work and staff may be required to work in the areas where asbestos was identified,” she said.

The spokeswoman said, despite the relocation, audiences should expect the show to be produced to the same standard as any Abbey Theatre production.

She said the stage at the O’Reilly Theatre was of a similar scale to that in the Abbey but that minor modifications would be required to the show, which is due to tour the UK and Ireland, as the O’Reilly did not allow for flying or the use of ropes and pulleys to move props and scenery.

The Abbey said it will contact those who have booked tickets for The Plough and the Stars. For more information see abbeytheatre.ieor call 01-8787222.