Town Hall History

Updated: December 2004

The building which houses the Town Hall Theatre was erected in the 1820's and served first as a Courthouse and later as a conventional Town Hall. In the 1950's, the building was converted into a cinema and was used for film screenings until it fell into disrepair in the 1990's. Galway Corporation, with the assistance of a grant from the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, undertook a major refurbishment of the building between 1993 and 1995 and it re-opened as a state of the art, 393 seat Municipal Theatre in October, 1995. The Theatre is situated in the centre of Galway and features a fine portico overlooking the newly renovated Courthouse Square and a bar/cafe in the upper foyer.

The Theatre presents a 52-week programme covering all the performance arts disciplines including theatre, concerts (classical, traditional, popular), musicals, opera, ballet and film. Among the major Theatre companies which have performed at the Theatre in its first two years are Druid Theatre Company, the Abbey Theatre Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the area of music, the RTE Concert Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy and leading names from Irish traditional music such as Frankie Gavin, Mairtín O'Connor, Sharon Shannon and Martin Hayes, have all played on the Town Hall stage. The Theatre has been the venue for a number of major Irish Film premieres during the annual Galway Film Fleadh including "The Butcher Boy" and "Some Mother's Son". Galway has always had a great reputation for the number and quality of its Arts Festivals and the Theatre plays a full role in the Galway Arts Festival, the Film Fleadh, Cúirt Literature Festival amongst others.

Over 100,000 people attended events at the Town Hall Theatre in 1996; making it the most successful Theatre of its size in Ireland.