|Former names||Grand Canal Theatre (2010–12)|
|Address||Grand Canal Square|
D02 PA03 Ireland
|Public transit||Grand Canal Dock DART|
|Operator||Live Nation Ireland|
|Broke ground||9 January 2007|
|Opened||18 March 2010|
|Construction cost||€80 million|
|Structural engineer||Arup Group|
|Main contractors||Sisk Group|
|Design and construction|
|Quantity surveyor||Davis Langdon|
The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (originally the Grand Canal Theatre) is a performing arts venue, located in the Docklands of Dublin, Ireland. It is Ireland's largest fixed-seat theatre. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind for the DDDA, built by Joe O'Reilly (Chartered Land), and opened by Harry Crosbie on 18 March 2010. It is owned by Bernie and John Gallagher (of Doyle Hotels), who bought the theatre in 2014 from NAMA, through their company, Crownway.
The site originally housed various buildings and structures of the Dublin Gasworks Company which were demolished in 1985 and decontaminated by the DDDA in the late 1990s and early 2000s at a cost of over €50m.
Grand Canal Theatre (148,171 ext. / 117,132 int. square foot, 2,111 seats) is the largest fixed seated theatre in Ireland, and the only Irish theatre with a stage capable of hosting major London West-End shows.
The theatre was built by Joe O'Reilly of Chartered Land (Castlethorn), on a 0.8-acre site, at a reported cost of €80 million (incl. land), to the specifications of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (or "DDDA").
The cost of the theatre was funded by the sale of two sites, on either side of the theatre, that Joe O'Reilly purchased from the DDDA in 2006. Therefore, as well as the Grand Canal Theatre, O'Reilly built the south office block (2 Grand Canal Square at 150,000 gla sq ft), and north office blocks (4 & 5 Grand Canal Square at 225,000 gla sq ft), as well as a 222-space car-park (underneath the Grand Canal Square plaza).
Polish-American starchitect Daniel Libeskind designed the theatre for the DDDA in 2004 (who were regenerating the area). Studio Liebskind also designed the office blocks on either side of the theatre (2, 4 & 5 Grand Canal Square) to ensure O'Reilly's scheme was integrated. Studio Liebskind collaborated with RHWL architects in London (theatre specialists) and McCauley Daye O'Connell architects in Dublin (executive architects). Construction started on the theatre in January 2007 and finished in late 2009. The main contractor was John Sisk & Sons and Arups were the main engineers.
The DDDA's wider development of the Grand Canal Square (Grand Canal Dock regeneration project), included another office block (1 Grand Canal Square at 125,000 sq ft, completed in 2007), a 5-star Hotel (the Manuel Aires Mateus designed, Marker Hotel, completed in 2012 but to a lower specification) and a Martha Schwartz designed 10,000 sq ft central piazza (on a "red carpet" theme, integrating with the Liebskind theatre, completed in 2008).
Ownership (2010 onwards)
As construction began in January 2007, the DDDA reportedly proposed the Grand Canal Theatre to the State (Department of Arts and Culture) or the Abbey Theatre, or as a new venue for National Concert Hall, but neither were able to meet the cost of fit-out (circa €4m), or handle the scale of the venue.
The theatre was purchased by Dublin Docklands-based businessman Harry Crosbie (co-owner of Point Theatre, now 3Arena, amongst other docklands properties) for €10m in July 2007 from Joe O'Reilly. Crosbie borrowed the purchase price, plus another €3.8m for the fit-out, from Allied Irish Banks ("AIB").
The Grand Canal Theatre was formally renamed the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 7 March 2012 as part of a 6.5-year naming rights deal with Bord Gáis Energy worth a reported €4.5 million (or €700k per year).
The theatre was put into receivership by the NAMA in April 2013. Crosbie's AIB theatre loans had been transferred to NAMA, however, Crosbie had larger loans with NAMA on various docklands projects (e.g. Point Village). He unsuccessfully fought the foreclosure by NAMA's receiver, Grant Thornton.
The theatre was sold in September 2014 on behalf of Grant Thornton for €28m (twice what Crosbie paid in 2007, and 40% above CBRE's €20m asking), to Bernie and John Gallagher (of Doyle Hotels), one of Ireland's richest hotel couples. They had not previously owned a theatre or concert venue.
LiveNation remain as venue managers (not clear if this is Harry Crosbie's original lease or a new management agreement with Bernie and John Gallagher).
- sells circa half a million tickets per year;
- hosts circa 330 events per year (including afternoon and evening shows), close to busiest UK theatres of 350 per year;
- 70% of events are described as West-End musicals, and 20% are described as West-End theatre;
- makes circa €8m in revenues per year (tickets, food and beverage, venue hire and naming rights)
- makes circa €1.5m in EBITDA, and circa €1m in pre-tax profit (there is some ambiguity over the definition of EBITDA and pre-tax profit).
The following West End shows have been shown in the theatre:
- Wicked (2013 and 2018)
- The Lion King (2013, 2022, 2023)
- Blood Brothers (2014)
- Dirty Dancing (2014 and 2023)
- War Horse (2013)
- Miss Saigon (2017)
- Les Misérables (2018–2019)
- Kinky Boots (2019)
- The Book of Mormon (2021)
The following other notable performances have been shown in the theatre:
- In March 2010, the theatre hosted a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia on 18 March 2010.
- Also in March 2010, the theatre hosted a classical Chinese dance performance Shen Yun by Shen Yun Performing Arts on 28 March 2010.
- In September 2014, TEDxDublin was held in the theatre.
- In March 2016, the theatre hosted 'RTÉ Centenary', a concert for television to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
- In 2022, it hosted Carmen starring Paula Murrihy.
- Dublin Docklands Development Authority
- Daniel Libeskind
- Martha Schwartz
- Grand Canal Docks
- West End theatre
- Broadway theatre
- Bord Gais Energy
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- "We Have Now Changed Our Name!". Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Website. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
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- "Tycoons under the radar". Sunday Business Post. 1 October 2017.
- "Theatre hits €1m profit thanks to top musicals". Irish Independent. 21 October 2016.
- "Bord Gáis theatre sees profits triple to €682,120". Irish Times. 9 October 2017.
- Aoife Barry (29 March 2016). "RTÉ had another 'Riverdance moment' last night". TheJournal.ie.
- Moriarty, Aoife (25 January 2022). "What's on stage: Theatre shows, musicals & more arriving in Ireland this spring". Buzz.ie.