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Dublin: 0 °C Thursday 27 February, 2020
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Abbey Theatre to close after asbestos discovery

The asbestos, which can cause serious health problems if inhaled, was found during a building inspection in January. The theatre will close for nine weeks.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE ABBEY THEATRE in Dublin is to close for nine weeks this summer after asbestos was discovered in the main auditorium.

The asbestos – prolonged inhalation of which can cause serious health problems including cancer – was found during an inspection of the building in January.

The Health and Safety Authority was informed and has been working with theatre staff to form a plan of action. Specialist consultants have also been involved in the process.

A statement from the Abbey says that the decision has been taken to remove the asbestos for the long-term safety of staff, who may be required to work in the areas where asbestos was identified.

The closure of the main auditorium from 17 July to 15 September means that performances of The Plough and the Stars by Seán O’Casey, due to being on 26 July, will be staged in the OReilly Theatre on Great Denmark Street in Dublin 1.

Other parts of the theatre, such as a the box office, will remain open during the works.

The statement also says that there is no health risk for staff or patrons, and that air quality tests have been carried out by a specialist company on a weekly basis since the discovery.

Irish musical Alice in Funderland is due to run at the Abbey until this Saturday 12 May. Dublin Dance Festival events and Tom Murphy’s The House are among the performances scheduled to take place before the July closure.

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Emer McLysaght

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