Cover photo
Verified local business
Smock Alley Theatre, 1662
Today Closed
Contact Information
Map of the business location
6/7 Exchange Street Lower Dublin 8 Ireland
6/7 Exchange Street LowerIEDublin 8
+353 1 677
Entertainment, Wedding Venue
Wedding Venue
Historical Landmark
Performing Arts Theater
Today Closed
Monday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmTuesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmWednesday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmThursday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmFriday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmSaturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pmSunday Closed
Dublin's Oldest Newest Theatre. Enjoys contemporary takes on the classic and the excitement of the emerging artist.

Varied Artistic Programme of Theatre, Music, Dance, Comedy & Visual Arts.

Smock Alley was the first Theatre Royal built in Dublin. John Ogilby opened it in 1662 as part of the Restoration of the British monarchy and King Charles II in 1660, along with the London’s Drury Lane (1662) and the Lincoln’s Inn Fields (1661). It was the first custom-built theatre in the city and still remains in substantially the same form, making it one of the most important sites in European theatre history.

Smock Alley was the first theatre outside London to receive the title of Theatre Royal, but because it had been built on land reclaimed from the Liffey, the building was unstable and the gallery collapsed twice; it was rebuilt in 1735.

In the mid-1740s, Thomas Sheridan took on the role of manager of Smock Alley and made many improvements to it. While it was in operation as a theatre, it gave the world the plays of George Farquhar, Oliver Goldsmith, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the brilliant performances of Peg Woffington, Thomas Sheridan, Spranger Barry, and Charles Macklin. It was on this stage that David Garrick, the greatest actor of the 18th century, first played Hamlet.

The theatre closed in 1787. The building was then used as a whiskey store until Father Michael Blake bought it to set a church. When the bell tolled in 1811, 18 years before the Catholic Emancipation, the first Catholic bell to ring in Dublin in nearly 300 years was heard. The façade boasts ornate stained glass windows and the original ceiling plasterwork remain in the Smock Alley as a witness of this time.

In 1989, the church was de-consecrated due to falling numbers of parishioners. It was then redeveloped into the ‘Viking Adventure,’ as part of the Temple Bar rejuvenation scheme, closing down in 2002. After a six-year renovation, Smock Alley Theatre reopened its doors as Dublin’s oldest newest theatre in May 2012. Besides recovering its old purpose, Smock Alley is also the new home of The Gaiety School of Acting – The National Theatre School of Ireland. With three gorgeous venues, Smock Alley is the perfect place to spend a cultural evening out.

For more than a century, Smock Alley put Irish theatre on the European map, acting as the very core of an Ireland striving to find its own voice. If we are to ask historically what makes theatre such an important part of culture today, we would need to go back more than two centuries before the founding of The Abbey Theatre, to the Smock Alley Theatre of the 17th century.

Google+ URL

See inside

Write a review
Review Summary
21 reviews
5 star
11 reviews
4 star
10 reviews
3 star
No reviews
2 star
No reviews
1 star
No reviews
One of the world's oldest theatres in sympathetically restored original space and church buildings.- Google
Scrapbook photo 2
Scrapbook photo 3
Scrapbook photo 4
Scrapbook photo 5
Scrapbook photo 6
Upload public photo
Your Activity
All reviews
Noreen Gibson's profile photo
Noreen Gibson
2 months ago
The venue is perfect. Modern seating within an olde worlde atmosphere. We really enjoyed 'Trouble in Enchantasia' today.
Laura McDonnell's profile photo
Laura McDonnell
2 years ago
I went to see The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle a few weeks ago. I loved it, it was fantastic! The theatre itself is really interesting too, lots of history attached to it. A lot of love has been invested into the renovations. It's a modern comfortable theatre within a charming old building. Check it out as soon as you can!
Rich Venezia's profile photo
Rich Venezia
2 years ago
Great space, great staff - what's not to love? All three spaces are stunning, and the Banquet Hall is a great setting for everything from weddings to galas. Ask any member of staff and they'll be glad to tell you the fascinating history of the place and maybe even take you on a tour. Can't wait to come back!
Nomore Workhorse's profile photo
Nomore Workhorse
2 years ago
This space is a great new addition to the Dublin Theatre scene. It's a nice combination of new meets old, and has three very different spaces, suitalbe for a variety of shows! If you haven't been already, it's worth a visit!
Karl Smith's profile photo
Karl Smith
a year ago
Beautiful venue and far bigger than you would think. Some amazing background history on the venue also. Very intimate also.
Conor O'Connell's profile photo
Conor O'Connell
2 years ago
Where do I start?? What a wonderful space the Boy's School is at Smock Alley, with fantastic facilities and a smile to greet you at the box office everyday you arrive, before the performance. From the moment I booked with Cliona, to my first meeting with Caoimhe and to my departure helped by Jason, I felt a warm and relaxing athmosphere that other theatre spaces could learn from. Technical Manager Dave was of great assistance, backed up by Jason and The American Buffalo, Donny. Box Office Manager, Caoimhe, was a dream to work it, supported by Conor, Jemma and Caoimhe eile, superbly. And last but my no means least, Christine FOH Manager, got me out of trouble on more than one occassion. Thank you one and all for a very pleasurable experience and I look forward to booking with you again in 2014. Production Coordinator, Silken Thomas Players. #mercuryforallireland
• • •
Raymond Magourty's profile photo
Raymond Magourty
2 years ago
Fantastic theatre space on wood quay. It started as a theatre, became a church, had ups and downs but was reborn in recent years as it was originally intended. It is quite the transformation project and if you see a show there be sure to climb the stairs and check out the grand hall upstairs. I saw Ibsen's 'The Dolls House' and Jean Anouilh's The Lark there recently, both compelling shows. Highly recommended.
Mireya Semelas's profile photo
Mireya Semelas
2 years ago
I went to day for the Dublin Book Festival and was marvelled by the interior of this long standing theatre. The walls, the high ceiling, the glasses on the windows...captivating. The seating area is the only reason I can't rate the Smock Alley Theatre as excellent, as the clash with the whole ambiance of the place is unfortunate. In addition to being really uncomfortable, it just breaks the whole enchantment of the theatre.


Bryan Murray (Fair City,Brookside,Irish RM) & Michael Bates (Fair City,Mattie, Roy) discuss their roles in Directions Out Theatre Company's new production of Brian McAvera's 'In Search of Mr B'

April 27th - May 2nd
Add a comment...
Hallowed be Artane...

Is there life beyond Dublin? Find out in Walkinstown. Tonight and tomorrow @ 8.30pm
Add a comment...
Crazy antics from The Cup Theatre Company. You ain't never seen Little Women like this before...

Tues 3rd & Wed 4th March @ 6.30pm
Add a comment...
Keep your exes close.

And their exes closer.

PEEP. Feb 26th & 27th as part of Collaborations
Add a comment...
Under My Bed is back with more childhood stories from some of Ireland's most recognisable faces
Add a comment...
Follow the uproariousm dubious and sometimes murderous escapades of Pat McNab, possible serial killer, in Pat McCabe's black comedy Emerald Germs opening next Monday Feb 2nd
Add a comment...
The story behind Sea Legs, the wonderful new project from Ciaran Lavery & Ryan Vail.

Performing live here on April 16th with support from Liza Flume
Add a comment...
The Canterbury Tales. Feast style with a light meal and drink included.

March 11th - 14th in our gorgeous Banquet Hall
Add a comment...
#TheatreIsABitGas Indecent Exposure. Friday 27th Feb - Sunday 1st March @ 7.45pm as part of Collaborations festival
Add a comment...
Supported by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Stephen Fry, +PurpleCoat return to Dublin with more Shakespearean magic this April.

80s gang style Hamlet and 50s jazz club Misummer Night's Dream. See both for just €22
Add a comment...

That chap on the table there, that's Liam Hallahan's Da, that is. 

In his upcoming show this March, Liam talks about his relationship with the man who was killed by Kurt Russell, Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro.
Add a comment...
Beautiful music from Paul Gilgunn. See his new work Okamajigerí
performed live here on Jan 31st
Add a comment...