Eblana Theatre

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Eblana Theatre
Address Busáras, Store Street
Dublin 1
Opened 17 September 1959
Years active 1959-1995
Architect Michael Scott

The Eblana Theatre was situated in the basement of Busáras, Dublin's central bus station, operated by Bus Éireann. A tiny theatre, famously without wings, it was open from 17 September 1959 until 1995.


The Eblana Theatre was run by Phyllis Ryan and home to her company Gemini Productions. It opened in 1959 during the Dublin Theatre Festival.[1] The inclusion of the theatre space, which was originally designed as a newsreel cinema, was part of the concept of Busáras being a multi-use public building. It was this original purpose that meant the theatre had no wings, which made mounting large plays or complex sets impossible.[2] The size of the theatre and its proximity to the public toilets of the bus station was a source of some derision, with claims that it was "The only public toilet in Dublin with its own theatre".[3]


Ryan was in the 1960s and 1970s the major producer of new plays in Ireland outside of the Abbey Theatre. Phyllis Ryan and her Gemini Productions kept independent theatre alive in Dublin and premièred most of the work of playwright John B. Keane. The playwrights such as Brian Friel, Joe O'Donnell, Tom Murphy etc., that Gemini nurtured were later adopted by the Abbey and other theatres but owe their first productions to the courage of Phyllis Ryan.[3]


In the mid 1990s, the Eblana was run for a short time by Andrew's Lane Theatre when Gemini moved out of the Eblana in the mid-1980s.[3] Following this it was leased by Northside Theatre Company. It closed in 1995, was gutted, and turned into a left luggage facility. There were plans announced in 2012 to refurbish the Theatre, at a cost of 1 million euro, to house the Fry Model Railway, though this has never come to fruition.[4]


  1. "Eblana Theatre". Playography Ireland. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  2. "Patrick Scott on Michael Scott & Busaras". Archiseek. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Grande dame of Eblana". The Irish Times. 6 January 2001. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  4. "Bus Eireann submitted only suitable proposal". Fingal Independent. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 

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