NUI Galway Opens the New Bailey Allen Wing

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

NUI Galway officially opened its new €6million arts wing and cultural centre with a spectacular launch this weekend where performances by Druid Theatre, Macnas, David O'Leary and Frankie Gavin introduced the new Bailey Allen Wing to a full house of University guests. Sciathán Bailey Allen is named after the late Frank J. Bailey, born in Galway in 1938, and the son of Desmond and Angela (later Allen), both well-known city-centre hotel proprietors. He graduated from NUI Galway in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Though a generous bequest from his mother, the late Angela Allen, the spirit of Frank Bailey will be memorialised at NUI Galway, while continuing to foster and support the artistic development of Galway city. As a member of the student Dramatic Society, Frank infused the society with a visionary spirit that began the University's association with experimental and innovative drama. Later, he worked with Radio Éireann as an actor and producer and he went on to establish his own theatre company, producing dramas for the Olympia, Gaiety, Abbey and Celtic Art theatres. Frank's last production, Synge's Riders to the Sea, staged in Galway in 1971, foreshadowed his own sudden and untimely death. Through his work, he inspired a young generation of actors and producers, which led to the rejuvenation of Dramsoc at the University, and to a flowering of culture and creativity in Galway city evidenced in cultural initiatives such as Galway Arts Festival, Druid Theatre Company, Macnas, Cúirt and others. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr James J. Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: "NUI Galway is proud to honour this remarkable man who died tragically in 1972. The Bailey Allen Wing in the newly refurbished Áras na Mac Léinn is dedicated to the Arts and Societies and will include performance facilities, exhibition space and an Auditorium for University, civic and public events. It will facilitate the University as a prime theatre space to be used by students for performance as well as by the University for conferrings and other significant events. We are grateful to the Bailey Allen family and in particular to Dorothy Pilkington, niece of Angela Allen, who attended the opening launch this weekend".
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