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About Us

Project Arts Centre is Ireland’s leading centre for the presentation and development of contemporary art, dedicated to protecting the independent sector and nurturing the next generation of Irish artists across all forms of the performing and visual arts.

Project Arts Centre is based in Temple Bar and consists of two performances spaces (the Cube – capacity of 73-82 and the Space Upstairs, capacity of 180 – 220) and a gallery.

A multi-disciplinary arts centre we programme work across all art forms from visual art, theatre, dance and music to live art events, talks and discussions. We also work with many major festivals including Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival and Dublin Dance Festival.

For nearly five decades Project Arts Centre has been at the forefront of contemporary artistic practice in Dublin. Generations of artists and audiences have taken part in its programmes and some of these relationships now reach back thirty years or more. We have helped to launch the careers of Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, U2 and exhibit the work of internationally renowned artists like James Coleman and Gerard Byrne and we continue to focus on developing the artists of the future.

Project Arts Centre is the busiest arts centre in the country presenting over 620 events and curating and co-ordinating 6 exhibitions each year as well as co-producing 38 productions as part of our Project Artists initiative.

Our aims and objectives

  • To produce, present and host a diverse programme of excellent contemporary art.
  • To support a community of artists with a particular emphasis on young and emerging practitioners, consolidating the very successful Project Artists initiative
  • Increase the depth and breadth of the public’s engagement with the centre’s programmes, growing participation across new target audiences.
  • Promote greater understanding and appreciation of Project Arts Centre and its mission as a contemporary arts centre.

PROGRAMMING

Our programming includes all contemporary art forms: theatre, dance, live art, video and film, traditional, jazz, electronic, classical and popular music, painting, sculpture, photography, multi-disciplinary installations and performance pieces.

Submissions Performance

Project Arts Centre does not accept unsolicited playscripts as we do not currently have the resources for play development or production.
Project Arts Centre is interested in all performing arts that embrace a contemporary sensibility.
Proposals should be addressed to: info@projectartscentre.ie

Submissions Visual Arts

The Project Arts Centre Gallery is a curated space. While we do not solicit proposals for exhibitions, we are always interested in developments in contemporary art practice. If you would like to send images of work or a weblink to the curatorial team, you may do so through the “Contact” section of this website. Otherwise artists, writers, academics, musicians, producers and theoreticians are welcome to send material to:

Curator of Visual Arts
Project Arts Centre
39 East Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2
Ireland

Please do not include any original material as this will not be returned, but kept on file for Project Arts Centre.

ACCESSIBILITY

Project Arts Centre is completely accessible for wheel chair users.

Our two performance spaces are also fitted with the Loop system to assist those with hearing impairment.

If you require any further information or assistance, please contact box-office@projectartscentre.ie or call 01-8819613.


 

CAN I HIRE A SPACE AT PROJECT?

We have a fantastic bar upstairs which is ideal for private parties, launches, gatherings and bespoke events.

If you’re interested in hosting an event in our bar, please contact Ciaran on bar@projectartscentre.ie with your details of your event and preferred dates, or call 01 8819630.

We also have two performance spaces we hire out for rehearsals, filming, events, talks or workshops. However, these spaces are fully programmed until the end of the year, with the exception of a few weeks in June and July.

We do not hire our gallery space for exhibitions as this is programmed year round by our Curator of Visual Arts.


Facilities

Project Arts Centre consists of the following facilities:

Performance/ Gallery Space
1. A ground floor gallery space
2. A ground floor multi-purpose space (Cube) – capacity <=90 seated
3. A first floor multi-purpose space (Space Upstairs) – capacity <=220 seated
4. Four dressing rooms and green room

If you require any further information regarding the technical specifications for these facilities please direct your enquiries to our Production Manager, Joseph Collins – jc@projectartscentre.ie.

Project Bar

Project Bar is open during performances, serving a range of beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic refreshments.


 

HISTORY

Project Arts Centre began life as a three-week festival at the Gate Theatre in November 1966. Although the initial impetus was to produce a single play this soon evolved into a season of experimental music, visual arts, seminars, children’s theatre and a hot debate on censorship with special guest, Edna O’Brien. Project’s first exhibition showed the work of four artists John Behan, Charlie Cullen, Michael Kane and John Kelly.

Such was the energy of this season that the founders co-operated to establish a permanent alternative centre for the performing and visual arts. In 1967 Project Gallery opened in Lower Abbey Street with an exhibition of graphic works by John Behan.

In 1969 Project was forced to move to a basement in the YMCA further down Lower Abbey Street. At this stage, film screenings and plays were introduced to the programme and the Project Gallery became the Project Arts Centre. Paintings that were on show during the day came off the walls at night when the space was taken over for performance. Project was now providing a venue for the work of writers and directors like Jim and Peter Sheridan, Vinnie McCabe and Neil Jordan.

In 1972 Project was on the move again to a disused factory in South King Street where Robert Ballagh showed his response to Bloody Sunday with chalk outlines of 13 bodies and chicken blood. In the theatre space directors Alan Stanford and Chris O’Neill filled every slot and playwright Tom Murphy’s first work On The Outside was premiered.

Finally, in 1974, Project settled in the former Dollard Printing Works at East Essex Street.

Three years later, with the financial assistance of An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council, Project purchased the site and remained there until 1998. The venue at East Essex Street consisted of a theatre/performance space, gallery and cinema. Here actors such as Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson developed their acting skills. Music came to the fore with the 24 hour Dark Space Festival and U2, The Virgin Prunes and The Boomtown Rats all played on stage at Project. Nigel Rolfe’s performances, Gay Sweatshop and Councillor Ned Brennan’s outrage about ‘funny bunnies’ all form important parts of Project’s past.

In 1982 fire destroyed part of the premises, forcing the closure of the cinema and the loss of the foyer and office accommodation. The 80s also saw Rough Magic become Project’s flagship theatre company. Olwen Fouéré and Roger Doyle formed Operating Theatre during this time, and pushed the boundaries of performance work in Ireland.

In 1991 the Board of Project instigated a programme of redevelopment to improve the venue and facilities. This culminated in the temporary closure of Project’s long-term base at East Essex Street in 1998. Artist-in-residence Maurice O’Connell’s Demolishing Project marked this event in February 1998, by inviting people to literally mark Project with a message or thought on the notion of Project and the old building.

In 1997, Project had relocated its performance space to project @ the mint. This temporary venue was located above a snooker club and fortune-teller in Henry Place, Dublin 1. The first show in project @ the mint was Hit and Run by CoisCéim Dance Theatre in January 1997. New companies like Bedrock and Loose Canon developed their craft and established their audience base. Dance, in particular, found a new home and work by Daghdha Dance and Paul Johnson of Mandance was showcased in this space. The visual arts programme at Project continued offsite at various locations and across different media.

Just as the mint was opened with a dance show, so it was closed in August 1999 with Without Hope or Fear – Work-in-Progress by Paul Johnson.

The new Project building was developed by Temple Bar Properties Ltd. and funded under the Operational Programme for Local Urban and Rural Development of the EU, and by the Department of the Environment, Local Government and Dublin Corporation. It was designed by Shay Cleary Architects and was opened by An Taosieach Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D. on Monday 12th June 2000. The building was introduced to the public with the inaugural exhibition Somewhere Near Vada, curated by artist Jaki Irvine, who was commissioned to select artists’ works using the moving image.

Project has had an eventful history and evolution, one which has mirrored the political and cultural trends of its time. It has developed from a voluntary, artist-led co-operative to the current structure of a full-time artist-driven company.

GOVERNANCE & FUNDRAISING COMPLIANCE

Project Arts Centre is a Company Limited by Guarantee, governed by a Board of Directors. For a full list of all Directors, click here.

To find out more about Project Arts Centre’s Governance & Fundraising Compliance, click here