Grand Unveiling: New Theatre Opens Its Doors With 'Swan Lake'


A STAR-STUDDED audience was last night treated to an elaborate performance of Swan Lakeby the Russian State Ballet and featuring Bolshoi dancers as the new Grand Canal Theatre opened its doors.

President Mary McAleese was the guest of honour at the first of seven sold-out shows in the €80 million theatre which is located in the heart of Dublin’s docklands.

“It’s been nine long, hard years but we think tonight it has been worth it,” said project developer Harry Crosbie.

U2 manager Paul McGuinness said the 2,000-seat theatre would bring shows that previously could not have come to Dublin and would transform the docklands area. “The current U2 tour wouldn’t fit but I am sure we will be on that stage sooner or later” he said.

Among the well-known faces from the world of film and music at the gala opening were director John Boorman, actor Brendan Gleeson, writer and director Rebecca Miller, singers Paul Brady and Christy Moore.

RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan said the theatre was planned during the boom so opening “in the midst of end of world” was a “fantastic success story”. Fashion designer John Rocha said it was “a great day for Ireland”.

The new venture also got the seal of approval from entrepreneur Bill Cullen who said it was “fantastic”.

Many broadcasters also attended the event including Gay Byrne, Kathryn Thomas, Colette Fitzpatrick and Anne Doyle.

Also present was architect Daniel Libeskind who designed the theatre which has seven bars, a rooftop terrace, a full orchestra pit and excellent technical and backstage facilities.

Soloists from the Bolshoi ballet company also featured in last night’s performance which included between 15 and 20 changes of scene.

Some 120,000 tickets have been sold to date for a variety of performances including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Whistle Down The Wind.