28 Sept 2022

Plans drawn for new outdoor stage/performance area and urban park in Kilkenny city

Plans to be submitted for Part 8 planning this summer


The site is adjacent to the Watergate Theatre | A - Stage Area, B - Urban Park Walkway, C - Outdoor Reconfigurable Seating Area

Plans have been drawn up for an exciting and ambitious new outdoor stage/performance area and urban park in Kilkenny city centre.

The plans for the proposed Watergate Outdoor Performance Area and Urban Park feature a large outdoor stage, reconfigurable furniture, an outdoor overhead canopy and a wildflower planting scheme. 

Kilkenny County Council have issued a notice of intention to go to Part 8 planning on the project this summer.

Looking at the plans, the outdoor performance area will be located adjacent to the Watergate Theatre on Parliament Street, where a public seating area is currently situated.

It will form part of an overall urban park area that will extend back to Horse Barrack Lane and into the newly-developed Abbey Quarter.

(Image: Map of the area with proposed site outlined)

The urban park forms a set of flexible spaces that can be configured according to event users or day-to-day use, facilitated by a combination of fixed and loose furniture. 

A clear route through the space will be retained during regular use and the route can be differentiated by changing seating patterns on the remaining hard surfaces of the park.

There are four potential event configurations where outdoor seating can be adapted to suit.

These events will make use of either the proscenium stage, a thrust stage, a cinema screen or a container/truck stage on Horse Barrack Lane.

The proscenium stage (6m x 4m) will occupy a space that is currently within the walls of Watergate Theatre grounds. 

(Image: Diagram of the stage that is slightly raised and features 45 degree-angled light projection)

Proscenium stages have an architectural frame, known as the proscenium arch, meaning the stage is gently sloped rising away from the audience.

The wall will be realigned and the space will be reserved for access by specific users, who must reserve access through a booking system. 

The proscenium arch will be an aperture in the newly constructed wall through which the stage becomes visible when a shutter is removed.

Lighting fixtures will be integrated into stage and lighting to stage will be at a 45 degree angle to stage centre. 

Reconfigurable bench seating allows space for seating wheelchair users near friends.

Furniture will be selected and designed to enhance the association with the site’s history as a timber yard.

A “chunky robust aesthetic” that withstands intense usage and offers flexibility is a key component in furniture selection.

Park users will be protected from rain, excess sun and other elements by a canopy shelter.

A canopy will also extend from the stage to protect equipment and performers.

Watergate Urban Park will adopt an urban wildlife planting scheme designed to support pollinators and urban birds and mammals.

The project was made possible by funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media.

When the project is sent for Part 8 planning approval it will then be followed by a consultation period of at least two weeks.

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