Drawing of the new look Ballinamore community Hall
Ballinamore is set to be transformed by the re-development of their community hall into an iconic, modern theatre and multi-purpose community centre, that will rival any other location in the north west.
The plan to erect in excess of 200 retractable tiered seats into the large hall, makes it one of the biggest sit down venues in the region. The hall will rival the Corn Mill Theatre, The Dock, the Glens as well as the Ramor Theatre in Cavan and the Backstage Theatre in Longford and hopes to attract music, comedy and live acts.
But that is not all; the hall will undergo a complete redesign outside, the red brick will be replaced by a clean plaster and grey stone look. And it will get a new name The Island Theatre, which makes sense when you realise the hall is built on a island surrounded by water.
Chairperson Tom Burns and committee member Ciaran Smyth explained that when the town ran their Spraoi Easter festival, the unpredictability of the weather meant it was difficult to plan events and activities. Events organised for Ballinamore Family Festival are regularly rained off, but this large multi purpose venue means the weather won’t be an issue again in Ballinamore!
The hall will also get a new lighting and sound system and a cinema size screen and projector, making it “production ready” as the Tom Burns puts it for concerts, musicals, dramas and community events.
The voluntary committee are excited about their new cinema screen as they will be able to screen films for special occasions and community events, such as movies for children during Easter, facilitate a film club or screen special interest or play local films.
They also hope to host medal presentations and run films of football games. The projector will also be able to be used as a backdrop for musicals, plays and other entertainment.
A new area will be built to the side of the hall for classes, rehearsals and other events. The kitchen, office and meeting rooms will be improved and a first floor reception area will be installed with a beautiful vista of the town and a glazed screen onto the main hall. The dressing rooms will be extended and main kitchen facilities improved.
The hall is already a popular hub with events on nightly, but it is hoped to make it more accessible.
Construction is expected to start in March just after the annual Ballinamore drama festival and the newly redeveloped hall should be unveiled and open to the public before the end of this year.
Committee members of Ballinamore Community Hall CLG: Eunan Sweeney, Allison Gray, John O'Connell, Declan Cumiskey, Joe Murphy, Claire McGirl, Tom Burns, Michael McTague, Celine Hughes and Ciaran Smyth.
The full project and plan will be unveiled tonight, Wednesday, February 27 at 8.30pm. It is expected the cost will total €600,000.
The company have secured €300,000 and are now seeking to raise €300,000 through a #weeklyfiver local campaign.
For just the price of a pint or a fancy cup of coffee you can support your community.
Once you have given €250 or more in any given year, your donations are tax eligible and will not affect your tax status, you will be entered into a draw to win €5,000.
The group hope the Ballinamore community and the diaspora will support this project.
Tom Burns said this redevelopment is for the present and future generations of the Ballinamore area, no more saying “there is nothing to do here.”
He explained that a lot of the plans for the hall came from a community survey conducted in 2016.
They hope to be debt free and self financing within five years. The reaction locally has been “overwhelmingly positive” so far and the committee hope the community will get behind this worthy and ambitious plan for the good of the entire area.
Ballinamore Community Hall CLG have a 25 year lease on the property from St Felim’s Diocesan Trust.