History of Tramway Theatre, Blessington
A feasibility study including a needs analysis was conducted to assist Blessington & District Forum in their decision to proceed with a dual purpose theatre or not. Its findings clearly highlighted not just the lack, but the absence of a suitable venue in West Wicklow to encourage participation in the arts. A VMOST analysis resulted in the following:
As we proceeded, an architect and theatrical consultant were engaged to design a dual purpose theatre. For several years we met with the developer, architects, engineers, project managers, theatrical consultants, the Department of Education and Diocesan Trust representatives resulting in a planning application and detailed drawings. That design provided for a 200 seat theatre with 156 of those on a retractable rack system and the remainder on a balcony. In addition, it provided for all the necessary services and facilities required for theatrical productions including control room to the rear of the balcony, foyer, toilets, en-suite dressing rooms, scene dock and a servery. The completed theatre space was handed over in 2007; however, while it would serve the needs of a school general-purpose area, it still required to be fitted-out as a theatre with sound and lighting infrastructure, drapes, communications etc. This would require Blessington & District Theatre Company Limited to embark on an expensive fit-out requiring much fundraising and/or grant assistance. A very detailed application for ACCESS II funds was rejected. Fundraising continued with partial fit-out as affordable and we provided initially basic dressing rooms, some electrical wiring in preparation for lanterns and a few drapes.
There was a major fundraising event in 2008 - the Mock Wedding.
The Blessington Society Wedding of the Year
The Wedding of Ms. Britnee Ravin
On Saturday, 1st March 2008
Followed by a Reception in
“How Marriage ruins a man!
This event effectively kick-started our major fund-raising activity and allowed us move to the next stage.
With this fit-out, performers no longer require the hiring of expensive equipment and the safety challenges of installing it. It makes this venue attractive and affordable to local users and groups while enabling us to attract performers of a higher standard. It’s therefore well justified and we hope you enjoy it. We have promoters, schools of speech and drama, dance and music making enquiries about bookings which is most rewarding and a clear message that this is truly a significant community development.
An immense gratitude is due to all those who volunteered their time over the past two years, whether fundraising, staffing events, contributing financially or with their time and skills. In particular, a vast amount of voluntary labour has been provided over the past two years as we completed the fit-out. This was a necessity due to the absence of cash and thankfully accepted by County Wicklow Partnership as part of the Leader application, without whose support, the fit-out of this amazing facility could not have been achieved.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Tramway Theatre at some time in the future, either as patron or performer.