After over a decade of planning and construction, Irish Arts Center (IAC) is ready to open its brand-new building at 726 11th Avenue, just around the corner from its old home at 553 West 51st Street.
Built on the site formerly occupied by Cybert Tire, the 21,700-square-foot hub for Irish Arts is designed by architects Davis Brody Bond, the firm behind the National September 11 Museum. The building's centerpiece is a flexible performance space designed in collaboration with Fisher Dachs Associates (The Shed), and Jaffe Holden Acoustics (Lincoln Center). The new IAC also includes a studio for classes, rehearsals, and community gatherings; a library classroom and patron lounge; and an atrium bordered by the former Cybert Tire building's historic brick facade. A ground-floor café will be operated in partnership with the Hell's Kitchen restaurant Ardesia.
"The new Irish Arts Center is a dream realized and a tribute to the broad coalition of people in New York and Ireland who have brought it to life," said executive director Aidan Connolly. Funding for the $60 million building came from the City of New York, the State of New York, the Irish Government, cultural and corporate foundations, and hundreds of private donors.
"The Government of Ireland is proud to have supported this new building, which is a new cultural landmark in New York, a celebration of Ireland-US relations and a platform for creativity, innovation, and diversity," said Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
The inagural event for the new theater will be Where Are We Now?, a concert by IAC favorite Camille O'Sullivan. TheaterMania's review of her 2016 appearance at the IAC describes O'Sullivan as "a singer and actress who engages our emotions better than any classic MGM film and who creates a symphonic experience with just three other musicians onstage." Where Are We Now? begins performances on December 4 ahead of an official opening on December 8. It is slated to run through December 31.
IAC's 2021-22 theatrical season will also include Enda Walsh's The Same, starring sisters Catherine Walsh and Eileen Walsh (February 16-March 6); Good Vibrations: A Punk Rock Musical from Lyric Theatre, Belfast (July 13-August 14, 2022); and Chekhov's First Play from Dead Centre (October 19-November 6, 2022).