If I had to set someone up on a date with a theatre (no, I’m not sure how that situation would arise either but just go with it), I would probably set them up with Project Arts Centre.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, Project is the big blue building in Temple Bar. You might have passed on your way to or from Meeting House Square or looked across at it from the Garage Bar. Much as I love the old-school glamour of the Abbey’s red velvet seats or the beautiful contrast between new and old in Smock Alley, Project is still my favourite Dublin theatre. We performed Trilogy there in the Fringe a few years back, so for that reason alone I will probably always have a special place in my heart for it but even without that connection, I would still love it. When I’m bringing people to the theatre, Project is almost always the gateway drug of choice. Tickets are reasonably priced and there is such a wide variety of stuff on, it’s easy to find something they’ll like. It’s a fairly diverse programme and I love that you can walk into the theatre spaces – the Cube downstairs and the bigger Space Upstairs and find them utterly transformed from the last time you were there, even if that last time was only a couple of days ago, which in my case, it often is!
I spend a lot of time there and a fair amount of money too. Luckily there’s the 25% off Early Bird offers and cheap Real Deal nights to help ease the strain on my bank balance because there’s loads on there in the next couple of months which I want to see. The main thing is Man of Valour which I am still kicking myself for missing in the Fringe two years ago, there’s also a ‘re-imagined’ version of Howie the Rookie for one actor, directed by the writer Mark O’Rowe and performed by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Sopadeine is my Boyfriend is back for another run in the middle of June and Carmel Winters’ new play Best Man comes here after the Cork Midsummer. They are also playing host to whole heap of shows in the Dublin Dance Festival.
But if you would like a more informal introduction for your first date with Project Arts Centre, you should go along to their Community Day tomorrow. There will be free workshops, guided tours of the building and the current visual-art exhibition, as well as tea and cake. There is a dance workshop at 11.30am with Muirne Bloomer, a workshop in Commedia dell’Arte and mask with Annie Ryan from 12pm and a theatre and performance workshop with THEATREclub at 2pm.
It kicks off this evening with Arena being broadcast live from the Space Upstairs. As far as I know there are still tickets available and the doors open at 6.45pm.
But if you can’t make it to the Community Day, have a look at the rest of their programme of events and make a date to pay them a visit.
Update: The Arena programme all about Project is now up on the RTÉ player and includes contributions from Cian O’Brien, Peter Sheridan and Philip McMahon, as well as some beautiful music from The New Triangle.