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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Opera House to shut temporarily
The building is more than 100 years old
The building is more than 100 years old
Belfast's Grand Opera House is set to shut its doors temporarily as work moves to a new stage on a major extension to the landmark building.

The multi-million pound project is expected to be completed in October.

The original city centre building will be left untouched, but will have a new L-shaped wing.

The new development will accommodate more bars, disabled access and toilets for audiences and more changing rooms and rehearsal studios for performances.

The building, which is more than 100 years old, narrowly escaped demolition in the 1970s. It was damaged several times in a number of explosions during the Troubles.

The 9m extension plan will double the size of the Opera House. The investment has come from National Lottery funding and the government.

Construction work began more than a year ago, but it is now necessary to halt performances.

Chairman of the Grand Opera House Trust, James Hunt, described it as a "very exciting time" for the theatre.

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