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The Lyric Theatre was shortlisted for the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize. Gilbert-Ash was appointed as design & build contractor on this multi-award winning theatre project, working in close partnership with O’Donnell + Tuomey architects. The project involved the demolition of the existing theatre building and replacing it with a new state of the art performance theatre, along with external landscaped gardens. The facilities include a 389-seat auditorium; a main performance area, a second performance studio accommodating between 110 and 150 people, and a rehearsal room the same size as the main auditorium stage.

Project Team

Architect O’Donnell + Tuomey, Dublin
Structural Engineer Horgan Lynch
Services Engineer IN2 Engineering
Acoustics Sound Space Design
Theatre Consultants Theatreplan

Project Value

project value - £18 million


  • RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlisted 2012
  • RIBA National Award 2012
  • RIAI Best Cultural Building Award 2012
  • RSUA Building of the Year Award 2012
  • DoE Environment Planning Award 2012
  • The Brick Awards: Supreme Winner Award / Best Public Building / Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year 2012
  • Northern Ireland Tourism Awards - Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award 2012
  • Civic Trust Award 2012
  • Irish Concrete Society Awards: Overall Winner Award and Building Category Award 2012

"“I didn’t think buildings were made like this anymore…the building is a thing made, rather than assembled. It is a work of craft rather than process, joinery not flatpack”." - The Guardian – Rowan Moore

"“I walked around the theatre with my jaw trailing on the ground. This is simply the most exciting new theatre I have ever seen, anywhere in the world. Confidence, originality and wit are everywhere in evidence, in materials, in finish, in use of space, but above all it’s dramatic. As you walk in, not only do you feel welcome, and delighted by what meets your eye, you feel wild anticipation. Every angle, every perspective, every surface arouses curiosity and drama and leads you eagerly to the auditorium. Seamus Heaney taught me the phrase ‘excoira and deloira’, that’s it, excited and delighted. I’m knocked sideways and so will you be, I promise”." - Interview with actor Simon Callow in the Belfast Telegraph:

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