The Lyric Theatre


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Project Description

As an integral part of the theatrical scene in Belfast, the regeneration of the Lyric theatre is a testament to artistic diversity in Northern Ireland, as proven by it's multiple awards. Not only do the new facilities showcase more external productions, but they have helped the Lyric's in-house production to thrive.

The original theatre was demolished to make way for the state of the art performance theatre, seating 389 in the main auditorium and 150 in the performance studio. The Stirling Prize shortlisted building also has a rehearsal room the same size as the main auditorium stage, an Education suite, dressing rooms, a green room, a board room, backstage facilities, box office, Café/Bar and external landscaped gardens.

Mastercrafts Involvement


Mastercraft was the first choice to construct the concrete frame of the building, by designers O'Donnell & Tuomey. We were chosen due to our extensive experience in the sector and our ability to address the complexity of the design. We teamed up with Peri Ltd to provide all the designs and drawings for the intricate formwork.

The main auditorium walls are 22 metres high and were constructed using Peri FB 180 Climbing Platforms and Trio panels. The fine finish concrete walls were formed with Trio Panels lined with MDO 333 plywood. Before construction could commence, we provided approved individual elevation drawings, showing bolt hole and panel patterns for the design team. All of the slab formwork was constructed with multiprops and GT24 timber girders. Included in the frame package was a major temporary propping scheme, carried out using a Megashor system which remained in place during the entire construction period.

One of the more intrinsic elements of formwork is the concrete bar. It is a unique and highly commended feature of the new theatre. In order to achieve the seamless high-quality concrete finish, the bespoke formwork had to integrate all M & E Services and the cast in one single pour. Once fully cured the countertop was given a polished finish.

The logistics of the project were challenging as the footprint of the building covers the entire site. The execution of our careful planning and daily organisation, of bringing materials and plant on and off the site, was essential to the smooth running of the contract.


Whilst still tasked with the job of completing the concrete frame, Mastercraft commenced on the fit out element of the £18.1 Million project, in July 2010. This was to include:

  • 2000m2 Solid Iroko Flooring
  • 500m2 Boen Sports Flooring System
  • Solid Iroko Doors and Frames
  • Iroko Wall Panelling
  • Iroko Handrails
  • Wall & Floor Tiling
  • Suspended Ceilings
  • Acoustic & Fire Protection
  • Painting

We were also involved in the structural timber elements, which included forming the tiered auditorium seating, proscenium doors, balconies and arches above the Main Auditorium. The acoustic ceilings in both the rehearsal and studio spaces were also included.

Our previous experience in other theatres, such as the Waterfront Hall(link), Grand Opera House extension(link), Market Place Armagh(link?), and the Strule Arts Centre Omagh(link?), together with our highly skilled workforce, enabled us to bring the Architect's vision of this project to life.

The Lyric Theatre was the Overall Winner at the Irish Concrete Awards 2011. For more information visit their website at:


Shortlisted for Stirling Prize 2012

Civic Trust Award Irish Concrete Society Awards: Overall Winner Award and Building Category Award

Royal Institute of British Architects Award 2012

Best Cultural Building Award at the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) 2012

Building of the Year at the Royal Society of Ulster Architects awards 2012

Department of the Environment Planning Award in the £2.5m+ Buildings Category

The Brick Awards - Supreme Winner Award, Best Public Building, Specialist Brickwork Contractor of the Year

Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award’ from the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards

Project Details


Arts & Leisure


Form Work



Gilbert Ash




O'Donnell + Tuomey



Additional Info
2012 Stirling Prize Shortlist