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Keith Williams set to design opera house in Ireland - images

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Keith Williams Architects has been picked to design a new Eu30 million (£21 million) opera house for the world famous Irish opera festival in Wexford.

The architect, whose Unicorn Theatre on London's South Bank has just opened to critical acclaim (AJ 01.12.05), will work on the project alongside the design team from Dublin's Office of Public Works.

Conceived as a 'secret opera house', the new 7,000m 2hall will replace the existing Festival Theatre on a site largely hidden behind a street frontage in the Medieval heart of the town.

As well as housing a main 750-seat auditorium - which can be converted to a 430 seat theatre out of season - the scheme also includes plans for a smaller performance and rehearsal space.

In addition, the project aims to upgrade the backstage facilities and overhaul the foyer, bars and box office.

The project, which received ministerial funding approval in December, is scheduled to start on site in summer 2006 and is expected to be finished in time for the autumn season in 2008.

by Richard Waite

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