The challenges of designing a new theatre to replace the one destroyed by fire.
The new Abbey Theatre opened on 18 July 1966 in the same location as the original building, which had been destroyed by fire in 1951. The expensive and lengthy process of replacing it involved fitting one theatre on top of another on a small site while complying with stringent health and safety regulations. The new auditorium for the main Abbey stage sat 628 people, which was about 100 more than the old one, while the smaller Peacock stage was also larger than it had been.
The building was designed by architecture firm Michael Scott and Partners with French theatre designer Pierre Sonrel as consultant architect. Patrick Gallagher talks to Scott about a number of design issues in this 'Late Extra' interview, from the brick walls to the lack of single dressing rooms. But there is a reason for everything, from the need for a silent, dark auditorium to the Abbey's 'no stars' policy.