THE ABBEY Hall in Graignamanagh opened it’s doors after two years last week when a local theatre took to the newly revamped stage.
Deputy Ann Phelan, who is a director of the Abbey Hall Restoration Project said that she was absolutely delighted to see the hall re open.
“In 2004 in the run up to the local elections I made a promise that I would restore the Abbey Hall to the people and now that has been done. Locally there were €15,000 raised for the restoration and a further €15,000 was used to buy the title deeds. The committee have worked tirelessly
When it was in use it was often used for amateur productions so it is very apt that the first event should be a play. The committee have worked tirelessly on a voluntary basis and I want to congratulate everyone involved. We are seeking further funding from Leader to complete the second part of the project which involves finishing off the stage,” she added.
Cllr Tommy Prendergast who is also involved with Leader explained the background to the project. “It took nearly two years. Before it closed down the Abbey Hall was in bad shape. There was a prefab extension that needed to be taken down and there were health and safety concerns surrounding hall.
“An application was put in for funding to Leader and we received approximately €150,000. This allowed us to reroof the buidling, plaster the outside, put in new windows and doors, put down new flooring and carry out electrical works. The stage was also extended. The first show was performed there last week but there are still a few finishing touches and it won’t be open to the public until mid January.”
“For the past two years there has been a big void in the community and this was seen when the children of the local community had to travel to Goresbridge to put on their shows. I am a member of the Duiske Players and we folded after the hall closed but now we are planning on getting back together when the hall is back up and running.”
The first event to be held at the newly renovated hall was the staging of Roddy Doyle’s hilarious comedy - Brownbread which received a great reception when it ran for four nights last week. The cast included:James Kilbride, Thomas Drennan, Adrian Kavanagh, David Behan, Jim Kielthy, Edel Bolger, Jackie Douglas, Eoin McNamara with Paul Hickey appearing as the Bishop.