26/11/2009

Curtain Opens On Derry Theatre

McCausland opens newly refurbished Playhouse Theatre



Arts Minister Nelson McCausland today officially opened the newly refurbished Playhouse Theatre in Londonderry.



Speaking during the opening Minister McCausland said: “The Playhouse Theatre is one of a number of projects that received funding from the £4million North West Challenge Fund which was announced in December 2005.



“I am pleased that my Department’s contribution of over £600,000, in addition to the Arts Council’s contribution of over £1.2 million, has produced such impressive results. The project has also received a contribution of £674,000 from the Integrated Development Fund (IDF) which is coordinated by Ilex, the urban regeneration company for the City Council of Londonderry. This investment has not only produced a first class facility for the Playhouse but will also support and develop the arts more widely in Londonderry.



“I would like to congratulate the Playhouse on the awards it has won: firstly the Northern Ireland Sustainable Planning Award for Sustainable Communities and Regeneration, and secondly the British Urban Regeneration Association’s Best Practice in Regeneration award for 2009.



“Both of these awards represent a fantastic achievement for the project and are a fitting recognition of the important part which the Playhouse plays in the regeneration of the City.



“The Northern Ireland Executive, through DCAL, continues to make a significant contribution to the improvement of our arts infrastructure throughout Northern Ireland, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to investing in local arts.



“In September I officially opened the newly refurbished Waterside Theatre in Londonderry and good progress continues to be made with both the Crescent Arts Centre and the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. This investment across the province in arts venues and theatres is essential if we are to maximise the benefits from the growth in cultural tourism.”



Also speaking at the opening, Rosemary Kelly, OBE, Chairman of the Arts Council said: “At the Arts Council, we are proud to be one of the principal funders of this historically important arts centre. It is a versatile venue that will have touched just about everyone in the North West, regardless of age or background.



“The restored Playhouse will contribute to a whole new lease of life for the North West augmented, as it is, by marvellous new facilities. I have no doubt it will build on its unique heritage in helping to keep the arts at the heart of Northern Ireland’s social and economic regeneration.”



The Minister also congratulated Pauline Ross, Niall McCaughan, Max Beer and their team at the Playhouse for their efforts in securing the success of the project and wished the theatre well in its future endeavours.

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