Wexford Opera House makes its debut
The Office of Public Works Architects with Keith Williams Architects' new Wexford Opera House officially opens today.
The €33 million (£27 million), 7,500sq m project in south-east Ireland boasts two theatres: a 780-seat auditorium and a 175-seat space that can be used in a variety of ways.
Built on the site of the old Theatre Royal and eight adjacent properties, the opera house is integrated into the town’s medieval centre. From outside this area, its only visible part is the copper-clad fly tower, which joins the spires of Wexford’s two Pugin churches and the Italianate tower of the Franciscan Friary on the skyline.
The building’s footprint is L-shaped, with the long axis running along the high street and housing the main auditorium and foyer. The main space, the O’Reilly Theatre, has been designed specifically for opera, and is inspired both by the form of a cello and the curves of a traditional horse-shoe-shaped operatic space.
The foyer is stacked on three floors and allows opera goers to see views over Wexford Harbour and bridge.
The smaller auditorium is in the other axis, which runs downhill. The project also includes café and bar facilities, and spaces for prop-making and rehearsals.