First look at Hawk’s Well Theater Sligo renovations

The Hawk’s Well Theater refurbishment project is well underway, with auditorium upgrading completed with the final step being a complete overhaul of the building’s seating. The upgrades are part of a larger renovation plan that will see the theater transformed to coincide with its 40th anniversary in 2022.

he theater upgrade has been in the works for some time, and the installation of the new seats is a big step forward for Hawk’s Well’s ambitious renovation project.

The Sligo champion was delighted to meet the board as they inspected the new equipment and saw the new look of the auditorium.

Replacing existing seats that had been in place for at least half the life of the venue, the seats were installed over a four-day period in April, after construction delays caused by Brexit and the global pandemic.

The new seat was manufactured by Josper in Spain.

The striking dark red seats are quiet and soft to the touch. They switch automatically thanks to their double springs and are tested to more than 500,000 cycles.

Most importantly, the ergonomic foam cushion is comfortable to sit on and the new seats provide extra legroom.

The seating upgrade is part of wider improvements to the auditorium which saw the installation of new flooring, new safety strips for stall steps and improved safety lights in the balcony, a complete repaint and new stage curtains.

On the technical side, a hearing aid loop has been installed, as well as state-of-the-art sound systems, a new projector and a new stage lighting management system.

These improvements were made possible through grants from Sligo LEADER Partnership; Ministry of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht; and Sligo’s advice, as well as public donations to the theater’s ongoing renovation fund.

With a story of their own, however, the last recall was not made on the old seats, with the units moving on to new life elsewhere. Coolera Dramatic Society, Áislann Chill Chartha and Dromore West Community Cinema have taken some to reuse and breathe new life into them, as has Niamh McGrath for a mobile theater project she is working on.

The remaining seats went to private individuals for home theater projects, meaning a little piece of Sligo theater history will live on throughout the county.

With the completion of the auditorium upgrades, attention is now focused on the renovation plan that will secure the Hawk’s Well Theater for future generations.

The tender for the construction work was announced earlier this year, with Rhatigan Architects taking the reins with the design team led by Director Trevor James.

This capital work will include; a historic reconstruction of the theater entrance and foyer space, essential flood prevention measures to mitigate flooding in the auditorium and the installation of an elevator to improve accessibility.

The Hawk’s Well has been raising funds for half a decade, with the aim of raising 1.37 million euros to secure the theater. However, there is still a long way to go to reach the final financial goal, and every penny raised is vital for the successful completion of the project.

In order to support the renovations, the theater launched its Rénovation Paton 2017 program which turned out to be a great success. Individuals, families or businesses can contribute to the fund by becoming patrons of the renovation and making donations at different levels of support.

All clients of the renovation will be recognized in perpetuity in the expanded building and will become a permanent part of Hawk’s Well history.

The Hawk’s Well Theater encourages businesses and individuals to donate to the fundraising effort. If you would like to support the future of Hawk’s Well by donating or becoming a Renovation Patron, please contact Jane Parsons at [email protected], visit www.hawkswell.com for details.

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