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A new arts facility for Newry that will combine Newry Town Hall and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre into a new state of the art venue for Newry city has moved another step forward following approval of plans by councillors at the January Strategy, Policy and Resources Committee meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down Council in Downpatrick.

An artists impression of what the new Newry arts facility could look like.
An artists impression of what the new Newry arts facility could look like from Merchants Quay.

Councillors voted to approve the enhancement and extension of the existing Newry Town Hall and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre in a project that will give a long overdue boost to Newry's arts scene. Despite recent renovation work to Newry Town Hall, Newry still lags behind similar facilities such as the Market Place in Armagh or the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn.

The Project

The new arts facility will include:

  • A high spec flexible studio theatre to put Newry on the professional, studio-scale touring circuit.
  • A multi use room in the town hall part equipped to accommodate occasional music performances, conferences, banquets, local community, amateur and semi-professional performing arts groups.
  • Ancillary offerings of canal side/ river side cafe/ bar facilities, visual arts display areas and informal internal and external pop-up performance areas.
  • Adapt existing accommodation and develop new to support conference facilities for up to 300 attendees.
  • Syndicate rooms for smaller meetings.
The rear of the Newry Town Hall and Arts Centre was cleared in 2014 and will form part of the new site landscaping. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The rear of the Newry Town Hall and Arts Centre was cleared in 2014 and will form part of the new site landscaping. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Councillor Michael Savage in proposing that the officer's recommendations be accepted for the major project said “I would like to congratulate the working group for their efforts and the administrators supporting this effort. This will be a major project for Newry and the wider area and this is a chance to showcase our state-of-the-art facilities, and we have an excellent creative community here in Newry and they will support this proposal.”

Matt McGinn and Gareth Dunlop singing in the present Arts Centre Auditorium. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Matt McGinn and Gareth Dunlop singing in the present Arts Centre Auditorium. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

It's hoped that the new facility would have a direct connection with public realm works, focusing on developing visual and physical links between the planned Newry Canal side walk, Bank Parade and the Clanrye River.

Twenty million pounds has been set aside by Newry, Mourne and Down Council within the captial budget for the Civic Centre Regeneration project.

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