The refurbishment of the Briery Gap Theatre and Macroom Library which suffered extensive damage when a fire broke out in May 2016 is set to begin this month.
Cork County Council plans to deliver a new theatre and library in the heart of the town centre with internal works set to commence during December and main works to begin in early January.
The project which is being undertaken by Cumnor Construction is expected to take 18 months and is due to be completed by June 2023.
The Briery Gap Theatre has remained closed and Macroom Library relocated to nearby Railway View since the damage following the fire over five years ago.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr, Gillian Coughlan, said that Cork County Council together with its team of consultants have designed “a wonderful space” that she said will become a focal point in the vibrant town centre of Macroom.
Before the fire in 2016, the theatre and library operated as separate entities within the one building. The refurbished facility will be reconfigured to create a flexible civic amenity and hub for the arts.
“It will certainly provide a boost to local businesses. I’m looking forward to seeing theatre-goers and book lovers of all ages returning in the summer of 2023,” she said.
The refurbishment works will see a new steel, concrete and timber-framed structure inserted into the existing masonry shell.
The main auditorium of the theatre will have its capacity increased to 217 people and will occupy the central space of the building.
There will also be increased backstage support facilities and a bar/foyer will be located at the upper front of house. The building will be fully accessible with the library located at the ground floor and rear ground floor levels.
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, said: “We’re committed to ensuring that our towns are vibrant places to live and work. The refurbishment of the Briery Gap Theatre and Macroom Library will stimulate the town centre and will have a positive impact on the streetscape.
This building will be a most welcome addition and supports the aspirations and objectives of the County Development Plan for Macroom Town.
"It is located within an Architectural Conservation Area and much thought has been put into the heritage context.
“The new design is sympathetic to its environment and uses natural clay brick, lime render and timber fenestration throughout. The concrete lintels will also look similar to the local soft limestone available nearby.” The project has been designed and is led by Cork County Council’s Architects Department together with their team of consultants including Consulting Engineers Horganlynch and EDC, ASM Group, CK Fire and Theatre Plan.