The long awaited new theatre forBallina is moving closer and an information night on the theatre will take place on Tuesday December 2 at 6pm in the Ballina civic offices. Currently the project has received funding of €1.62 million from Ballina Town Council, €1.59 million from Mayo County Council and €1.2 million from the department of Arts, Sports and Heritage subject to the shortfall in the project being made up by local contributions. The shortfall that will have to be raised through local fund-raising is expected to be in the region of €500,000.
The new theatre will incorporate a 240-seat theatre, including a purpose designed music and dance studio, all located on the banks of the Moy. The project has been through a number of stages already with the sale of the old Estoria building by Mayo County Council funding the purchase of the Newman Institute on Barrett Street where the arts centre is located. Ballina Town Council gave part eight planning permission to the theatre in 2007. Extensive fund-raising has taken place in the area by local voluntary organisations and currently €40,000 has been raised. The profile of the centre has also been raised nationally this year with an exhibition of paintings by Louis le Brocquy, thanks to the Royal Hibernian Academy. The centre also hosted the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at the Ballina Sports and Leisure Centre while the centre had performances by Lisa Hannigan and The West’s Awake.
There is a need for a purpose-built performing space in the town which has been without one since the old town hall theatre in the town was torn down in 2000, and this project will serve amateur, community groups and professionals alike in the north Mayo region. The information evening will include a futuristic presentation of the ambitious plans for the centre.