O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, NUI Galway. Photo: Neil Warner.
Apr 10 2017 Posted: 13:54 IST

Pioneering O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance at NUI Galway will have a transformative effect on the University’s students and Galway’s cultural hinterland

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins will officially open the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance today (10 April 2017) at NUI Galway. The new state-of-the-art facility will act as a central hub for cultural innovation and creativity in the University and Galway City. Under the directorship of Professor Patrick Lonergan, the O’Donoghue Centre will deliver ground-breaking programmes, firmly rooted in NUI Galway’s local strengths and capacities, but globally significant in vision, ambition and innovation.

This pioneering Centre is a 120-seat theatre space with retractable tiered seating allowing for multifunctional use and accessibility. It comprises of studio spaces, a classroom, and a workshop and rehearsal room that will have a transformative effect not only on the University’s students but on the vibrant cultural hinterland that surrounds the campus. 

As a long-standing advocate for the arts and innovation, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins has paid tribute to the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, praising what he called its "key role in establishing Galway’s reputation as Ireland’s cultural capital and an international centre for innovative drama, theatre and performance."  

The Centre recognises the generous philanthropic support of Galway businessman, Dr Donagh O’Donoghue who began his association with the University after he completed both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in the 1960s. Donagh combined his academic work with an active involvement in extra-curricular activities. He was a member of Comhairle Teachta na Mac-Léinn (the Students’ Representative Council, predecessor of the Students’ Union), where fellow members included President Michael D. Higgins.

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “Today is a milestone in NUI Galway’s history - marking the opening of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, a flagship new facility for the performing arts in the heart of our University. NUI Galway has always had a deep commitment to the arts, a commitment which continues to be central to our vision. Over the years we've supported a vibrant ethos on campus which has enriched national culture and confirmed Galway’s position as a city of creativity and innovation. Today’s development is a consolidation of that effort and today I want to commend Dr Donagh O’Donoghue and Galway University Foundation and to thank them sincerely for their commitment and support. As we look to the future, we imagine the stories that will be told, the careers that will be forged and the ideas that will be sparked in this wonderful place.”

NUI Galway has a distinguished tradition of producing important theatre-makers: great actors such as Siobhán McKenna, Caitlín Maude and Marie Mullen, directors such as Garry Hynes, and many writers, designers, producers, and scholars. The University now welcomes up to 50 undergraduate and 30 postgraduate students to its Drama courses every year. These students take classes in both theatre history and practice, and develop skills in acting, research, creative writing, directing, design, and much more. Their education is enhanced by partnerships with major arts organisations. Together with Druid Theatre, NUI Galway founded the Druid Academy, a new initiative to provide workshops and masterclasses for Galway students, including an annual directing workshop with Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes. Students also have access to an annual internship programme with Galway International Arts Festival, which provides a behind-the-scenes insight into the management of one of Europe’s biggest festivals. The University also has major research resources in theatre, including the digital archives of the Abbey and Gate Theatres, which provide more than two million scripts, videos, photographs - making NUI Galway the home of the world’s largest digital theatre archive. 

Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, commented: Galway is a wonderful hub of Ireland’s cultural life and this development of the O’Donoghue Centre at NUI Galway will be a powerhouse for cultural innovation and will consolidate Galway’s reputation as a centre of creativity. The new centre is a timely addition to NUI Galway’s offering as the Government implements the Creative Ireland initiative, which aims to put culture and creativity at the heart of both public life and public policy.”

The building on Earl’s Island began life as a bleach and flax mill in the 1850s. It was then converted into a jute factory, became a bonded warehouse, a factory for making cannon shells during World War I. and was occupied by the 6th Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers during the War of Independence. In 1935 it became Irish Metal Industries and was officially opened by Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on July 22 1935. And with today’s official opening it has now become the home of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance.

Professor Patrick Lonergan, Director of the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, said: “
This Centre is opening at a time when governments are beginning to understand the essential role of creativity in the wellbeing of their nations – and not only in the cultural sphere. There is growing evidence that creative arts contribute to our communities’ wellbeing, including our mental and physical health. And we’re also seeing evidence that business leaders recognise the importance of creativity as a key skill.

As Galway moves towards 2020, when it will be Europe’s Capital of Culture, we have a huge opportunity to transform attitudes to the creative arts, and to ensure they are valued both in themselves and for their broader impact. By placing a theatre right at the heart of its campus, NUI Galway is providing a tangible statement of the University’s sense of the importance of creativity.”

The Centre was designed by Taylor Architects in Co Mayo and Richard Murphy Architects in Edinburgh, with the work carried out by Purcell Construction.

For further course information at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance visit: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/

-Ends-

 

Déanfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn,  Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú a oscailt go hoifigiúil in OÉ Gaillimh

Beidh tionchar ceannródaíoch ag Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú ar mhic léinn na hOllscoile agus ar chultúr na Gaillimhe go ginearálta

 Déanfaidh Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn,  Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú a oscailt go hoifigiúil inniu (an 10 Aibreán 2017) in OÉ Gaillimh. Beidh an áis nua-aoiseach den chéad scoth seo mar áit lárnach don nuálaíocht agus don chruthaitheacht i gcúrsaí cultúir san Ollscoil agus i gCathair na Gaillimhe.


Faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Patrick Lonergan, cuirfear cláir cheannródaíocha ar fáil in Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha, cláir ina mbeidh láidreachtaí agus cumais an phobail áitiúil mar bhunchlocha ach ar cláir iad a bheidh tábhachtach go hidirnáisiúnta i dtaca leis an dearcadh, leis an uaillmhian agus leis an nuálaíocht a bheas ag baint leo.

 Tá spás suí do 120 duine san amharclann san Ionad ceannródaíoch seo agus is suíocháin iad a thig a tharraingt ar ais chun gur féidir an spás a úsáid ar iliomad bealach. Tá spásanna stiúideo, seomra ranga, agus seomra ceardlainne agus cleachtaidh ann a chuideoidh go mór le mic léinn na hOllscoile agus freisin leis an bpobal bríomhar, cultúrtha a mhaireann timpeall ar an Ollscoil.  

 Mar dhuine a thacaigh riamh anall leis na healaíona agus leis an nuálaíocht, thug Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn, ardmholadh d’Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú, agus thug sé le fios go mbeadh “ról tábhachtach ag an Ionad i dtaca le buanú cháil na Gaillimhe mar phríomhchathair an Chultúir in Éirinn agus go mbeadh an tIonad ina ionad idirnáisiúnta don drámaíocht, don amharclannaíocht agus don taibhléiriú.”  

Tugtar aitheantas san Ionad do thacaíocht fhlaithiúil, dhaonchairdiúil duine d’fhir ghnó na Gaillimhe, an Dr Donagh Ó Donnchadha, a bhfuil baint aige leis an Ollscoil ó bhain sé Céim sna Dána agus Céim sa Tráchtáil amach anseo sna 1960idí. Chomh maith leis an obair acadúil a bhí le déanamh aige, bhíodh Donagh gníomhach i gcónaí i ngníomhaíochtaí eile ar an gcampas. Bhí sé ina bhall de Chomhairle Teachta na Mac Léinn (ba í seo an chomhairle ionadaíoch do mhic léinn a bhí ann roimh Chomhaltas na Mac Léinn), agus bhí leithéidí an Uachtaráin Micheál D. Ó hUigínn ina leathbhádóir ar an gComhairle aige.

Dúirt Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne: “Is lá cinniúnach é seo i stair OÉ Gaillimh - an lá seo ar a n-osclófar Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhleiriú, áis den chéad scoth do na taibhealaíona anseo i gcroílár na hOllscoile. Tá an díograis sin ar mhaithe leis na healaíona fréamhaithe go domhain in obair OÉ Gaillimh agus leanfar leis an díograis sin san fhís atá againn don am atá amach romhainn.

Is fada muid ag cothú spiorad bríomhar ar an gcampas anseo, spiorad a chuir leis an gcultúr ar bhonn náisiúnta agus a chuir bonn ceart faoi stádas na Gaillimhe mar chathair chruthaitheach agus nuálaíoch. Daingníonn imeachtaí an lae inniu an obair sin a rinneadh leis na blianta fada agus inniu, ba mhaith liom ardmholadh a thabhairt don Dr Donagh Ó Donnchadha agus d’Fhondúireacht na hOllscoile agus buíochas ó chroí a ghabháil leo as a gcuid díograise agus as a gcuid tacaíochta. Agus muid ag díriú ar a bhfuil amach romhainn, samhlaímid na scéalta a inseofar, na gairmeacha beatha a chothófar agus na smaointe a ghinfear san áit iontach seo.”

 Thosaigh an tógáil seo ar Oileán an Iarla den chéad uair nuair a tógadh muileann tuartha agus lín anseo sna 1850idí. Ansin rinneadh monarcha shiúiteanna de, ina dhiaidh sin, bhí sé ina thrádstóras faoi bhanna, ina mhonarcha ina ndearnadh sliogáin do ghunnaí móra le linn an Chéad Chogaidh Dhomhanda, agus bhí reisimintí an 6ú Garda Dragúin agus an 17ú Lansaí lonnaithe ann le linn Chogadh na Saoirse. An 22 Iúil 1935, d’oscail Seán Lemass, a bhí ina Aire Tionscal agus Tráchtála ag an am, ionad do Thionscail Mhiotal na hÉireann san fhoirgneamh seo. Agus inniu le hoscailt oifigiúil an fhoirgnimh, is ann a bheas Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú.

 Dúirt an tAire Heather Humpreys, TD, an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gnóthaí Réigiúnacha, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta: “Tá Gaillimh i gceartlár shaol cultúrtha na hÉireann agus le forbairt Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha anseo in OÉ Gaillimh, cuirfear lasair faoin nuálaíocht i gcúrsaí cultúir agus daingneofar cáil na Gaillimhe mar lárionad na cruthaitheachta. Is tráthúil go bhfuil an t-ionad seo curtha ar bun ag OÉ Gaillimh agus an tionscamh Éire Ildánach á chur i bhfeidhm ag an Rialtas, tionscnamh a chuirfidh an cultúr agus an chruthaitheacht i gcroílár an tsaoil phoiblí agus an bheartais phoiblí araon.”

 Dúirt an tOllamh Patrick Lonergan, Stiúrthóir Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Léann Drámaíochta agus Amharclannaíochta in OÉ Gaillimh: “Beidh an tIonad seo ag oscailt ag am a mbeidh rialtais ag teacht ar thuiscint ar an ról fíorthábhachtach atá ag an gcruthaitheacht i leas a náisiúin - agus nach rud é seo a bhaineann le saol an chultúir amháin. Tá fianaise ann go gcuireann an chruthaitheacht le leas agus folláine ár bpobal, lena n-áirítear sláinte fhisiciúil agus mheabhrach na bpobal sin, agus tá an fhianaise sin ag dul i méid i gcónaí. Tá fianaise anois freisin ann go dtuigeann ceannairí gnó gur scil an-tábhachtach go deo í an chruthaitheacht.

Agus Gaillimh ag druidim le 2020, nuair a bheas sí ina Príomhchathair Chultúir na hEorpa, is deis iontach dúinn é an dearcadh atá ag daoine i leith na n-ealaíon cruthaitheach a athrú, agus a chinntiú go bhfuil meas orthu agus ar an tionchar a bhíonn acu ar an saol go ginearálta. Trí amharclann a lonnú i gcroílár an champais, tá ráiteas láidir á dhéanamh ag OÉ Gaillimh go dtuigeann sé a thábhachtaí agus atá an chruthaitheacht.”

 Ba iad Taylor Architects i gContae Mhaigh Eo agus Richard Murphy Architects i nDún Éideann a dhear an tIonad, agus ba iad Purcell Construction a rinne an obair air. 

Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil i dtaca le cúrsaí in Ionad Uí Dhonnchadha don Drámaíocht, an Amharclannaíocht agus an Taibhléiriú, téigh chuig: http://www.nuigalway.ie/creativearts/

 -Críoch-

 

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