Smock Alley Studio Theatre
Lower Exchange Street, Dublin 8

The Smock Alley Theatre is on Lower Exchange Street, Dublin 8. The entrance is between Aspect International Language School and SS Michael and John Church. Access is from Essex Quay/Wood Quay (south side of the River Liffey) or from Parliament Street (at the far west end of Temple Bar).

The site, which is near the east side of the Civic Offices in Wood Quay, has a connection with Irish theatre that goes back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The original theatre building was apparently demolished when the church of Saints Michael and John was being built around 1811. The church site was bought by Temple Bar Properties in 1991 on behalf of Dublin Tourism for the development of the Dublin Viking Adventure.

The current Studio Theatre was established as a temporary facility, while a much bigger restoration project was being planned. It is in an area adjacent to the original theatre space on the site. In August 2006 Minister John O’Donoghue T.D., Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism announced the allocation of a €2 million grant towards the €5.2 million target for the restoration and refurbishment of Smock Alley Theatre in Temple Bar.

Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D., officially broke the ground on the construction project in the Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar on 23 October 2006. When completed in 2008/2009, the new facility will have a main theatre with 220 seats and a 100 seat studio theatre. It will enliven this part of Temple Bar and enable one of the oldest theatres in the world to be brought back to life as a rehearsal and performance space for many groups including the Gaiety School of Acting.

Temple Bar Cultural Trust, owners of the site and building complex, are working with the Gaiety School of Acting, their development partners in this project, to create this addition to the arts infrastructure in Dublin’s Cultural Quarter in Temple Bar. In the meantime, the Studio Space will be used until the construction work requires access to it.