What do the people of Dublin think of the possibility that the city may lose the Olympia Theatre?
A Dublin landmark and much loved venue, the Olympia has been entertaining people since 1879 when it was called Dan Lowrey’s Music Hall. Time passed, and the venue underwent refurbishments and name changes, becoming The Olympia Theatre in 1923.
While the programme always offered variety shows and revue, it also provided many other entertainment options for theatre goers over the years such as ballet, pantomime, opera and drama, and film.
In 1952 it was taken over by producers Stanley Illsely and Leo McCabe, and a new era of dramatic theatre in the capital ensued. However, in the early 1960s, the Olympia Theatre's future looked uncertain, as the building's new owners had sought permission to demolish it and replace it with a ballroom.
RTÉ reporter John Ross got the reaction of theatre goers to the news. All want the theatre to remain open. As one young lady says,
It has a marvellous reputation.
A Belfast man laments the possibility of the theatre’s closure,
It’s a pity any legitimate theatre should close, because we haven’t enough of them. I think we have gone canned in everything and by that I mean television as well as the cinema,
Another theatre goer believes that closure could be prevented if,
A number of people who are interested in the cultural life of the city could pool their financial resources, and take over the Olympia as a going concern.
Theatre is especially important to people involved in amateur dramatics. And as this young woman says, all manner of fundraising should be called upon to save the theatre,
I’d try and raise money by various means, guest teas and bingo, and things like that. I mean, they raise money for churches, why not for theatre.
One man believes that the state has a role in providing funding for the theatre, as it provides entertainment for so many people
Many is the good evening I spent there looking at good shows and I’d love to see it continued.
His friend agrees with the proposal that Dublin people would buy shares in the Olympia to keep it in operation if a suitable financial scheme was available,
The majority would, I think. You might as well be optimistic about it I suppose.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 30 July 1963. The reporter is John Ross.