Northern Ireland

Belfast's Lyric Theatre re-opens for rehearsals

Workers inside the Lyric
Image caption Rebuilding the theatre on the banks of the River Lagan cost £18m

Belfast's newly-rebuilt Lyric Theatre is set to open on Monday for its first rehearsals.

The first production in the theatre, which cost £18m to re-build, will be Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

The new theatre was built on the Lyric's existing site in Stranmillis on the banks of the River Lagan.

It includes a 389-seat main auditorium, a new studio, dedicated youth and education space and improved facilities for staff and artists.

The funding campaign for the building began in 2003 and has been backed by acting heavyweights Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh and Ballymena's Liam Neeson.

The original theatre opened on the Lisburn Road in 1951 and moved to premises on Ridgeway Street about 20 years later.

However, ongoing problems with the building and dated facilities led to a decision to close it.

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