Northern Ireland news

Grand Opera House to receive refurbishment

The Grand Opera House in Belfast

THE Grand Opera House in Belfast is to undergo a refurbishment ahead of its 125th anniversary in 2020.

Plans have been submitted to transform the main auditorium and make significant changes to the extension, known as Act 2, which opened in 2006.

This year the iconic venue announced it had received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards an extensive project that would see the restoration of its auditorium, together with its front of house areas.

The restoration project, which will cost a total of £11 million, is due to begin in January 2020 ahead of the 125th anniversary later that year.

The interior was last restored in 1980 when the theatre reopened after it was saved from demolition.

The trust that controls the theatre suggested in a planning application that Act 2 had not been a success.

Spaces in the extension, it said, were under-used and not fulfilling their potential.

"There is a lack of continuity of theme or style between the original theatre and Act 2 accommodation and many of the linking spaces are poor quality," it added.

Plans include a redesign of the extension's external appearance.

Seating will be replaced, ceiling decoration and paintings cleaned in the main auditorium, while the architectural houselights will also be restored.

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