Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

My choice for placing a new Abbey Theatre

Same site on Abbey Street
36
14%
GPO, O'Connell Street
60
23%
Carlton Cinema, O'Connell Street
94
36%
George's Dock, Docklands
16
6%
Site of Hawkins House
46
18%
Other
8
3%
 
Total votes : 260

Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby lostexpectation » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:04 pm

so wheres the front of house ops of the gpo going to go
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby GregF » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:40 pm

Looks like alternative sites will never materialize. So the best place then for the new Abbey Theatre is where it is at the moment and where it has always been. They can always dig down for more space too.

There's a task for some "innovative" Irish architects and designers now to come up with something.....kinda Dr Who's TARDIS sorta stuff.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:40 pm

Image
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:14 am

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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:14 am

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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby gunter » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:22 am

If there's some compelling need to stick the Abbey Theatre on O'Connell Street, there are plenty of better options than the GPO.

Image
old Eircom office block outlined in red, Gate Theatre in view on the top right

The old Eircom office block on the corner of Cathal Brugha Street would be sitting on the right size of site and it must be coming near the end of it's unnatural life anyway. Again a land swap would take some of the sting out of the cost, and the Abbey located at this site would give us a potentially fine new civic building where it's most needed (Upper O'Connell Street) and create the beginnings of a cluster with the Gate Theatre near by. Be close enough too to North Great Georges Street be able to wheel the senator down in a Bath-chair!

I think I slightly prefer the Liberty Hall swap option, on the basis that if you're going to kill two birds with one stone, you'd like them to be big ugly birds.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby wearnicehats » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:01 pm

Madam, – I feel a genuinely worthy opportunity is being missed, while the easy option is being taken. The GPO, by virtue of its historical function, is inherently unsuited to the location of the Abbey. Built as a post office in 1818, it has graciously survived as such for over two centuries, and is now one of the last major Georgian public buildings in Dublin to retain its original function.

It continues to serve citizens well, even if the status once attached to a postal service has diminished since its inception. The building performs a useful civic duty, grants universal and free public access, and therefore should remain as is when entered from O’Connell Street – by all accounts with new, complementary cultural uses. Even if the grand 1920s public office was retained as a post office with the Abbey located to the rear, the status of the National Theatre would naturally be vastly diminished.

To move the Abbey to the GPO not only confuses the legibility of this significant public structure, it also deprives the historic centre of Dublin of probably its only chance of a new civic building any time this century. With this in mind, the ideal site for a striking contemporary Abbey Theatre and arts centre is that of Hawkins House, home to the Department of Health and Dublin’s most reviled office building, facing the current theatre directly across the Liffey.

Not only is this site in State ownership, it is the perfect location for a major public building, addressed by the junction of five streets with the potential for a grand civic piazza to the front. Such a development would also continue the strong legacy of the Wide Streets Commissioners, Georgian Dublin’s planning authority, in this area, whose grand urban schemes left us with fine terraces such as the former Irish Times offices on D’Olier Street, punctuated with major civic buildings.

A new axis could be created between this site and the former House of Lords portico on College Street, in turn linking around to a pedestrianised College Green.

The Abbey relocation project is about so much more than simply finding a new home for the National Theatre – it involves the very essentials of urbanism, architecture, civic life and fundamentally giving something new and meaningful back to the centre of Dublin. Sadly, the GPO option ticks very few of these boxes. – Yours, etc,

GRAHAM HICKEY,

Victoria Road,

Clontarf,

Dublin 3.




today's ITimes
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby GregF » Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:09 pm

Well done Graham!
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:21 pm

Graham while I kinda fell your sentiment I'm not so sure I agree.

the options I can see are...

a) wizz bang at hawkins house which I highly doubt we will ever get and it puts the diagonal xray axis into dispute... but the plaza might off set this... If college green was added I accept your case...
b) subtle black panther box at GPO with neons or heavy metal/ Waterford crystal
c) do you think it will happen on the Carlton site I don't think it should and I don't think they will want to sacrifice street frontage unless it has a tunnel entrance or pay rent for the rest of there lives...
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:22 pm

Graham while I kinda feel your sentiment I'm not so sure I agree.

the options I can see are...

a) wizz bang at hawkins house which I highly doubt we will ever get and it puts the diagonal xray axis into dispute... but the plaza might off set this... If college green was added I accept your case...
b) subtle black panther box at GPO with neons or heavy metal/ Waterford crystal
c) do you think it will happen on the Carlton site I don't think it should and I don't think they will want to sacrifice street frontage unless it has a tunnel entrance or pay rent for the rest of there lives...

what theatres do people admire out there? old and new
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby Global Citizen » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:55 pm

The Druid.
I have some photos of it somewhere. I'll put them on the Galway page when I find them.
Straying off topic i fear......
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby gunter » Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:36 pm

Fintan O'Toole was making much the same point (in the IT Weekend Review http://www.irishtimes.com) today that Paul made here last week; that the Scottish model of an itinerant national theatre might be a more appropriate transformation of the Abbey than creating a new theatre for it in the GPO, or anywhere else.

Some quotes from today's article:

[INDENT]''The role (of the national theatre) is to be subversive''.

''The national theatre should always be a space in which the national myths are up in the air and the national soul is up for grabs''.

''The question we should be asking therefore is what the proper place for this kind of free, subversive and fluid theatre might be''.[/INDENT]
Is the answer a building at all? The killjoy conclusion is of course, no! . . . . no civic revitalisation, no 'trophy architectural statement', just sink whatever money there might be in the remnants of future Arts budgets into theatre productions rather that producing a theatre.

Like most articles from the Tool, you can't really argue with it, the case is moral and the logic is sound, but it is the same case and the same logic that tells us that the church should sell all it's buildings and get back onto the street with the poor.

The only problem with this flawless logic is that if it was followed, down the centuries, we wouldn't have great cathedrals, we wouldn't have religious art, and it's not just Michelangelo that would have been poorer, society would have been poorer.

What is the role of theatre in society? Subversive, maybe, but there's also an argument that for every theatre-goer that likes to indulge in a bit of subversive society role play, there are thousands of citizens who'd probably get more out of having an actual civic building of quality somewhere in the city to be proud of, or occasionally meet a friend for coffee in.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby lostexpectation » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:02 pm

who goes to theatre for coffee?
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby gunter » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:26 pm

Ok, whatever!

I love this; a letter in the IT today from Ben Barnes, former head bottle washer at the Abbey (I think) and it starts off with:

[INDENT]''Madam, – O dear, the “Whither the Abbey?” roadshow is back in town'', [/INDENT]
. . but by paragraph fifteen, BB has climbed onto the bandwagon and joined the roadshow:
[INDENT]''. . . . the new theatre complex at Grand Canal Harbour would stand a much better chance of success as a home for the Abbey (and the National Concert Hall) than setting itself up in competition with the 02 and Harry Crosbie, especially now that – as we are being constantly told – our spending power has been spancelled for a generation''.[/INDENT]I can just about imagine the groan that went up when the people behind the Grand Canal Theatre heard this one, . . . . shiny new theatre – stodgy old Abbey, . . . . oh gawd!

If we're going to merge the Abbey with another institution . . . . and take over their building! . . . what about the National Wax Works?
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby StephenC » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:36 pm

I think his point is rooted in the fact that Docklands offered the theatre at GCD to the Abbey years ago but Aul Bertie (the visionary that he was) put an end to it saying de teatre should stay on de nort side. In fairness to the grumpy old shite he has a point
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby tommyt » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:16 pm

gunter wrote:Ok, whatever!

I love this; a letter in the IT today from Ben Barnes, former head bottle washer at the Abbey (I think) and it starts off with:

[INDENT]''Madam, – O dear, the “Whither the Abbey?” roadshow is back in town'', [/INDENT]
. . but by paragraph fifteen, BB has climbed onto the bandwagon and joined the roadshow:
[INDENT]''. . . . the new theatre complex at Grand Canal Harbour would stand a much better chance of success as a home for the Abbey (and the National Concert Hall) than setting itself up in competition with the 02 and Harry Crosbie, especially now that – as we are being constantly told – our spending power has been spancelled for a generation''.[/INDENT]I can just about imagine the groan that went up when the people behind the Grand Canal Theatre heard this one, . . . . shiny new theatre – stodgy old Abbey, . . . . oh gawd!

If we're going to merge the Abbey with another institution . . . . and take over their building! . . . what about the National Wax Works?


i believe Dr Quirkey is a bit busy at the moment-he might welome a chance to join the relocation jig
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby gunter » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:22 pm

not sure we're treating this matter with due reverence :)

Image Image

. . . . but then, I can still remember sitting through this, cringe inducing, theatrical experience twenty five years later.

If someone comes on now and says this was a classic production, gunter has a programme in good condition to flog on ebay!
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby GregF » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:00 am

Come to think of it, but the amount of buildings in Dublin whose original specific purposes has since changed from the time they were first built.


So, we once had fine and grand old chuches and banks that are now pubs, nightclubs, hotels and offices, distilleries that are now colleges, colleges and warehouses that are now concert halls, hospitals that are offices, courthouses, museums and shopping malls, theatres that are now offices or cinemas, cinemas that are now offices or appartmants etc….. and now we have the notion of the GPO becoming a theatre to cap it all. So if it were to happen, what would become of the old location on Abbey St. then....emmmmm.... perhaps put a pub or hotel there and call it the...ehhh Abbey?....or maybe put a new general post office there.

The butchers and botchers are abound in Dublin, can’t leave well alone, thus many old landmark buildings lose their significance somewhat in the modern urban landscape of fastfood joints and general thrashiness. There will be fuck all left untouched in the city. I doubt if such malarky here is as prolific in other European cities. Ah sure fuck it, I suppose.


(Gas too, that they want to maintain the low skyline amid all the butchery of wiping away what’s left of the architectural history.)
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby missarchi » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:08 am

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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby PVC King » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:36 am

GregF wrote:Looks like alternative sites will never materialize. So the best place then for the new Abbey Theatre is where it is at the moment and where it has always been. They can always dig down for more space too.

There's a task for some "innovative" Irish architects and designers now to come up with something.....kinda Dr Who's TARDIS sorta stuff.



Totally agree from a cultural perspective retaining it at its original location must be the object. When looking at the existing site securing the buildings on the southrn side of the lane that have their southern frontage to Eden Quay hasn't been easier for 22 years. With a facade retenetion on those and a proposal that oversailed the lane you would have a site that was far from constrained.

Just how did the GPO ever come into the frame as a possible location it is almost as dumb as trying to float it in a flooded dry dock. You would almost think the objective in some quarters is to come with undeliverable solutions so as that no government funding will ever be given for a revamp.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby Yixian » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:25 pm

The problem is, as nice as it would be having the Abbey in the GPO, you are not adding anything to OCS by making that move.

OCS is a nice street, I know many of you have big problems with it but by and large, it's a very nice street, however there's still plenty of junk on it and the Carlton Cinema site is a prime example.

A new structure should be built for the Abbey, one that will "add" to OCS, rather than simply not subtract.


Also, anyone notice this in that IT article?

He intends that a new national opera company will be established next year, definitely in Dublin, not Wexford, with decisions about how it is to be structured made within three months so that plans can be included in next year’s Estimates.


Haha! How many times have I waffled on about Dublin needing an opera house :P

Calatrava, Dublin Opera House, on the Liffey.

Make it so.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby PVC King » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:58 pm

Yixian wrote: The problem is, as nice as it would be having the Abbey in the GPO, you are not adding anything to OCS by making that move.

OCS is a nice street, I know many of you have big problems with it but by and large, it's a very nice street, however there's still plenty of junk on it and the Carlton Cinema site is a prime example.

A new structure should be built for the Abbey, one that will "add" to OCS, rather than simply not subtract..


Very few major Cities have their National Theatre on their main Street; beyond the obvious architectural quality the GPO is of significant historical importance as a post office. Why would anyone want to break the link with history to create a dark single purpose space which is predominately night-time use?

The GPO as a post office is just perfect if An Post can't afford to run it just as a post office then let them open a cafe in the middle of the circulation space and sub-let the telephone booth section but do not wreck the 1920's counter fitout.

Yixian wrote: Haha! How many times have I waffled on about Dublin needing an opera house :P

Calatrava, Dublin Opera House, on the Liffey.

Make it so.


Investment Banks = Corporate Freinds of Opera
Broke Investment Banks = No Opera outside special events such as Wexford Opera Festival or one offs at NCH
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby Yixian » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:04 pm

PVC King wrote:Very few major Cities have their National Theatre on their main Street; beyond the obvious architectural quality the GPO is of significant historical importance as a post office. Why would anyone want to break the link with history to create a dark single purpose space which is predominately night-time use?


I do agree, I would rather the Abbey be relocated to anywhere else on OCS other than the GPU, as far as I'm concerned fine architecture is too often relegated to nothing more than museums, government buildings or office blocks in todays world, but a building like the GPO that serves a public function become part of our lives and thereby enrich it.

And like you say, it has historical value *as* a post office.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby Service charge » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:45 pm

One of the primary reasons being touted for siting the abbey in the GPO is to bring life to the northern portion of O'Connell St.

Are people serious about this?

The GPO as a post office attracts hundreds if not thousands of peoplel to the street everyday. As a theatre it would attract virtually no traffic during the day and only hundreds at night, mainly at the weekend.

This idea is a disaster and short sighted. A portico does not a national theatre make.
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Re: Abbey Theatre to be located in the GPO

Postby cgcsb » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:24 am

wasn't the GPO supposed to become a museum dedicated to the rising? are people forgetting that? Are people also forgetting that there isn't an internal space big enough in the GPO, so the building will have to be altered (partially reconstructed) this idea would be very damaging to the City
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