Wicklow County Council has been awarded a significant grant of €250,000 from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media for the development of a high-quality arts and culture performance space at Bray Seafront.
This follows a successful application by Wicklow County Council under the Outdoor Public Space Scheme, 2021 designed to accelerate public realm capital improvement projects with a primary focus of assisting local authorities to adapt, equip or otherwise improve outdoor public spaces for arts and culture events and also festivals, taking account of public health guidelines.
The performance space, which will be located at the north end of the Bray Esplanade will link the public realm to the arts and culture directly with potential audiences and will include:
- A tented canopy structure providing cover for performing artists
- It will be equipped with sound and lighting equipment
- Have a backdrop to the rear of the stage area
- Treated hardwood timber seating.
An encircling pedestrian access pathway to frame the space and connecting it to the existing main seafront footpaths and promenade at either side is proposed.
Work will now begin on the preparation of architectural drawings to facilitate public consultation and engagement and the procurement process. Work is expected to be completed in late 2022.
Drawn up in response to the Outdoor Spaces Scheme, the Amphitheatre is an ambitious design which will exceed the available grant amount, however Wicklow County Council believes that this design delivers the best potential amenity for the chosen area and is committed to providing the additional funding resources to deliver a ‘best in class’ urban amenity for the residents of Bray, the wider community and visitors to the town.
Commenting on the development, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Frank Curran, said: “the project is strategically aligned to the broader infrastructural development of the Seafront and Harbour areas of the Town which have recently secured significant investment of URDF funding. It will add to and compliment adjoining projects such as the proposed redevelopment of the Bray harbour and the recently completed Seafront Plaza scheme which has created a high-quality civic space providing a suitable and safe place for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, welcomed the funding by saying that “the development will provide a much-needed performance space for use by local community groups and artists. The space will be innovative in design providing broad public access with designated wheelchair facilities. It will include space for workshops and dance performances as well as art fair, yoga, pilates and other cultural projects. It will be a creative and visible space for arts and culture set in a very high-profile public thoroughfare thereby integrating the arts as a normal aspect of life in this historic recreation and amenity area.”
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Shay Cullen, congratulated Bray Municipal District on securing the funding for the project which he said will achieve the aim of enhancing a key high-quality open space in order to maximise its functions as a public amenity and a tourism attraction.