Situated on Dame Street in the heart of the Irish capital, the Olympia Theatre is a 1,300-seater venue. It is used for theatrical performances of all kinds and as a live music venue. From time to time, part of the seating area is removed, which allows the theatre to accommodate up to 1,600 spectators in a mixture of both standing and seated audience members. Originally a music hall theatre, it opened in 1879 under the name â€˜The Star of Erinâ€™. It was soon renamed as â€˜Dan Loweryâ€™s Music Hallâ€™ and took on its current name in 1923. In the 20th century, many leading actors and performers of their day graced the theatreâ€™s stage. Among them were the world-famous Charlie Chaplin as well as Laurel and Hardy, then hugely successful film stars. There was a short closure for repair works to be carried out in the mid-1970s, but the theatre has remained at the centre of Dublinâ€™s cultural scene ever since.
The Olympia Theatre is one of Dublinâ€™s foremost live music venues and many touring performers and bands are booked to play there, with some notable stars among them. For example, past musical performers include Elkie Brooks, Adele and Elvis Costello. The stage of the Olympia theatre has also hosted many bands, including indie rockers Ash, Kaiser Chiefs, The Script and Aslan. The American rock band R.E.M. recorded Live at the Olympia during a stint of performances there in June and July 2009. The album was launched to critical acclaim later that year. The venue was also chosen as the performance arena for the recording of Tom Waitsâ€™ â€œThe Piano Has Been Drinkingâ€ in 1981.
The Olympia Theatre is also a notable music venue because it has often been the first overseas venue on a European leg of a world tour. For example, Tori Amos kicked off her European gigging career at the venue, and Paramour began the European stage of their After Laughter tour there.
As well as music, the Olympia Theatre is frequently used for comedy shows and pantomimes. Productions of Aladdin, Cinderella, Robin Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk have all been staged in the past. In 2016, the theatreâ€™s management took the step to improve the comfort and amount of legroom available in the stalls. At this time, sufficient room was made for the theatre to accommodate a number of wheelchair users during performances. In addition, the aisles were widened to make access easier for patrons using wheelchairs. Booster seats for children to use are available for a deposit that is refunded on return.
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