Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

Coordinates: 53°20′39″N 6°14′24″W / 53.34425°N 6.24004°W / 53.34425; -6.24004
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Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Exterior venue with former signage (c.2010)
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is located in Dublin
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Location within Dublin City
Former namesGrand Canal Theatre (2010–12)
AddressGrand Canal Square
Dublin 2
D02 PA03 Ireland
Coordinates53°20′39″N 6°14′24″W / 53.34425°N 6.24004°W / 53.34425; -6.24004
Public transitGrand Canal Dock DART
OwnerCrownway Investments
OperatorLive Nation Ireland
Acreage0.8 acre
Broke ground9 January 2007 (2007-01-09)
Opened18 March 2010 (2010-03-18)
Construction cost€80 million
Project managerLafferty
Structural engineerArup Group
Main contractorsSisk Group
Venue Website
Building details
Design and construction
DeveloperChartered Land
Other designers
Quantity surveyorDavis 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.[1] 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.[2] It is owned by Bernie and John Gallagher (of Doyle Hotels), who bought the theatre in 2014 from NAMA, through their company, Crownway.[3][4][5]


The site in 1985 prior to demolition

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.[6][7]

Development (2004–2010)[edit]

The front of the Daniel Libeskind designed Bord Gáis Energy Theatre pictured from the Martha Schwartz designed Grand Canal Square plaza

Grand Canal Theatre (148,171 ext. / 117,132 int. square foot, 2,111 seats)[8][9][10] is the largest fixed seated theatre in Ireland,[1] and the only Irish theatre with a stage[11] capable of hosting major London West-End shows.[12][13][14]

It would rank as the 4th largest London West-End theatre, and exceeds the capacity of all New York Broadway theatres.

The theatre was built by Joe O'Reilly[15] of Chartered Land (Castlethorn),[8] on a 0.8-acre site,[16] at a reported cost of €80 million (incl. land), to the specifications of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (or "DDDA").[9][17][14]

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.[18] 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).[19][20][21]

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.[8] Studio Liebskind collaborated with RHWL architects in London (theatre specialists) and McCauley Daye O'Connell architects in Dublin (executive architects).[22] 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.[8]

The DDDA's wider development of the Grand Canal Square (Grand Canal Dock regeneration project), included another office block (1 Grand Canal Square[23] 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[24]) and a Martha Schwartz designed 10,000 sq ft central piazza (on a "red carpet" theme, integrating with the Liebskind theatre, completed in 2008).[25][26]

Ownership (2010 onwards)[edit]

Owner Harry Crosbie at the opening night of the theatre on 18 March 2010

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.[17]

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").[27]

Crosbie then leased the management contract for the Grand Canal Theatre to Live Nation (who were also co-owners, and managers, of the 3Arena).[28][29]

Crosbie officially opened the Grand Canal Theatre with a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia on 18 March 2010.[2]

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[30][31] worth a reported €4.5 million (or €700k per year).[32]

The theatre was put into receivership by the NAMA in April 2013.[33][34] 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).[10] He unsuccessfully fought the foreclosure by NAMA's receiver, Grant Thornton.[35][36][37]

Grant Thornton took control of the theatre for NAMA, however Live Nation continued to manage the venue and support the sales process with CBRE.[14]

The theatre was sold in September 2014[14][13][10] 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),[4][5][38][3] one of Ireland's richest hotel couples. They had not previously owned a theatre or concert venue.[39]

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).

Operational performance[edit]

View out from inside the theatre

Filed accounts (including 2014 CBRE sales materials[13][14][10][16]), indicate that the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre:[40][41]

  • 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;[14]
  • 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).[41]



As per above, the Bord Gáis Energy theatre imply that circa 90% of the events are West-End musicals and West-End theatre shows.

The following West End shows have been shown in the theatre:[14]

The following other notable performances have been shown in the theatre:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Irish Theatre Venues". 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Grand Unveiling: New Theatre Opens Its Doors With 'Swan Lake'". Irish Times. 19 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Bord Gáis Theatre sold in €28m deal". Irish Times. 23 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Theatre sold to John and Berie Gallagher of Jurys Doyle fame". Irish Independent. 23 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Bord Gáis theatre sold for €28m to Celtic Tiger winners". Irish Independent. 23 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Turtle Bunbury - Award-winning travel writer, historian and author based in Ireland". Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Dublin's toxic gasworks material could end up as part of Dutch road network". The Irish Times. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Daniel Libeskind's Grand Canal Square Theatre". Buildipedia. 3 January 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d "Harry Crosbie's Bord Gáis theatre for sale at €20m". Irish Times. 9 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Grand Canal Theatre Stage Equipment Case Study" (PDF). Unusual Rigging Limited. 2010.
  12. ^ "Curtain up on a new theatrical era?". Irish Times. 21 January 2010.
  13. ^ a b c "Prestigious Dublin Theatre to Attract Investor Appetite". CBRE Ireland. 4 July 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (CBRE)". CBRE. 2014.
  15. ^ "Profile of Joe O'Reilly". Irish Times. 12 February 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Bord Gáis Theatre takes centre stage". Irish Examiner. 14 July 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Selling our largest theatre: the public case for a cultural jewel". Irish Times. 9 July 2014.
  18. ^ "Grand designs will test patience". Irish Times. 8 December 2006.
  19. ^ "Dockland scheme to express 'vitality of Dublin'". Irish Architecture News. 19 September 2007.
  20. ^ "Grand Canal Square". Chartered Land. 2018.
  21. ^ "Grand Canal Square / Studio Libeskind". archidaily. March 2010.
  22. ^ "Interview with Daniel Liebskind" (PDF). Royal Irish Architecture Institute. January 2010. p. 15.
  23. ^ "1 Grand Canal Square". archiseek. 2010.
  24. ^ "Marker Hotel Grand Canal Square". archiseek. 2010.
  25. ^ "Grand Canal Square Dublin". Martha Schwartz Partners MSP. 2010.
  26. ^ "Grand Canal Square by Martha Schwartz Partners". deZeen. 2010.
  27. ^ "Crosbie firm buys €100m theatre being built in Dublin docklands". Irish Times. 3 July 2007.
  28. ^ "Building row takes centre stage on opening night of €80m theatre". Irish Independent. 9 March 2010.
  29. ^ "Nick Webb: Live Nation after Harrys' theatre". Irish Independent. 14 September 2014.
  30. ^ "Grand Canal Theatre to change name as part of Bord Gáis deal". Irish Times. 25 October 2011.
  31. ^ "We Have Now Changed Our Name!". Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Website. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  32. ^ "Bord Gáis secures naming rights to Grand Canal Theatre". 24 October 2011.
  33. ^ "Receivers appointed to companies behind former Grand Canal Theatre and Point Village". 19 April 2013.
  34. ^ "Docklands king's downfall – why Nama pursued Harry Crosbie". Irish Times. 16 May 2014.
  35. ^ "Bord Gáis theatre sale 'barbarous', says Harry Crosbie". Irish Times. 19 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Harry Crosbie in court challenge to Nama over seizure of theatre". Irish Independent. 25 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Bord Gáis Energy Theatre up for sale for over €20m". RTE News. July 2014.
  38. ^ "New owners for Bord Gáis Energy Theatre". Irish Times. 24 September 2014.
  39. ^ "Tycoons under the radar". Sunday Business Post. 1 October 2017.
  40. ^ "Theatre hits €1m profit thanks to top musicals". Irish Independent. 21 October 2016.
  41. ^ a b "Bord Gáis theatre sees profits triple to €682,120". Irish Times. 9 October 2017.
  42. ^ Aoife Barry (29 March 2016). "RTÉ had another 'Riverdance moment' last night".
  43. ^ Moriarty, Aoife (25 January 2022). "What's on stage: Theatre shows, musicals & more arriving in Ireland this spring".

External links[edit]