September 24, 2016
Executive Director of Public Information
New York, NY–The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) joined the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and community members to celebrate the recently completed renovation of the Irish Repertory Theater today, and the Theater’s first full season back in its upgraded Chelsea home.
Renovation of the 8,240-square-foot theater began in August 2014, with performances returning to the new space in May 2016. DCLA funded the $6 million project, which was managed by DDC. The occasion was marked by a ribbon cutting by actor Matthew Broderick, and included hours of free festivities with Irish bands, step dancers, and poetry readings.
“The Irish Repertory Theater has been a beacon of cultural diffusion for 28 years and DDC is exceptionally proud to now be included in that history,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “After almost three decades of expanding the local arts scene, the newly upgraded space will enlighten and entertain many future generations of New Yorkers. Thank you to the Theater and the Department of Cultural Affairs for entrusting DDC with this precious local treasure.”
“For decades, the Irish Repertory Theatre has been the premiere venue in New York City for bringing the very best in Irish theater to local audiences,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “The City was proud to support this transformative renovation project, giving the Irish Rep a world class space to continue bringing their extraordinary work to the stage.”
“When we first moved into our 22nd Street space 21 years ago, we found ourselves the residents of an industrial warehouse – certainly not a theatre in any way, shape or form,” Ciaran O’Reilly, Producing Director at the Irish Repertory Theatre. “Now, more than two decades later, thanks to the incredible partnership of the DDC and DCLA, the commitment of New York City government officials, and many generous supporters, we have a state-of the-art home that will serve the Irish Rep and our creative mission for decades to come.”
The renovation to the theater added 250-square-feet of total space and widened the stage, backstage and storage areas. The venue can now seat 148, ten more than the previous capacity. A new 40-seat balcony replaces the theater’s old side seating section providing unobstructed views of the stage. The height of the performance area has been nearly doubled to 27 feet from ground level, and new catwalks help increase lighting capacity by 60 percent. A gallery space, two offices, and new bathrooms were also installed in the second floor of the theater.
Additional improvements include an enhanced audio/visual room which can control a new automated turntable on the stage. Lighting has been added underneath the stairs for increased visibility within the theater. The project also includes upgrades to mechanical, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems.
The project has been managed by DDC Senior Construction Project Manager Tawfik Tawfik, a resident of Rosebank, Staten Island. Tawfik, a veteran project manager who began at DDC in January 1999, has worked on projects for the DDC’s police unit, environmental protection unit, and corrections unit. He has worked in the cultural unit for the past eight years.