A planning application has been submitted for the new flagship Newry Theatre and Conference Centre designed by Hamilton Architects.
The project is part of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Newry City Centre Regeneration programme of works and will enhance cultural activity space in the heart of the city.
The plan proposes the renovation of Newry’s existing Grade 2 listed Town Hall and construction of a modern multi-functional venue on the site of the neighbouring Sean Hollywood Arts Centre.
A glazed atrium will link the two buildings, which encompasses 1,697m2 and 2,287m2 respectively, allowing them to operate as a single venue.
Refurbishment of the Town Hall will provide dressing rooms and WCs, improved access for back of house operations, and new lift and stair access to the main auditorium.
The new building will provide a 255-seater theatre which will accommodate a range of configurations and uses supported by the latest in audio visual and performance systems.
A high-quality, multi-use end-on room will facilitatemusic performances, conferences and banquets, as well as large scale events. The new public realm will be complemented by a performance space.
The ultimate ambition is for the Studio to become the home of Newry’s performing arts, opening up opportunities for partnerships with producers, production companies and tour bookers.
The new complex is just one element of NMDDC’s overall plan to enhance its cultural activity space in the city centre with the aim of attracting more visitors who stay longer to drive a more vibrant evening economy.
The Newry City Centre Regeneration programme is supported by Belfast Region City Deal funding. The projects benefitting are the Theatre and Conference Centre and Civic and Regional Hub, for which £5m BRCD funding has been allocated for its Public Realm elements, and £3m for a Grade A Office Accommodation Fund.
Overall, the BRCD deal confirms the commitment by its partners to deliver on over 20 major transformative projects, with up to £1bn being invested by the partners, NI Executive, UK Government and private sector.
The benefits to Newry, Mourne and Down are transformative, with almost £200m dedicated to projects based in tourism, regeneration and infrastructure, as well as investments generated through digital and innovation and employability skills.