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Belfast MAC seeks £1m emergency funding

The MAC, Belfast. Photo: Donal McCann Photography
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Belfast’s newest theatre and arts space could be forced to close just three years after opening if it fails to secure £1 million for emergency repairs.
Belfast Metropolitan Arts Centre needs to repair its crumbling facade, with David Carson, director of finance at the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, claiming “there will need to be an assessment of what the consequences might be” if the issues are not resolved.
Carson, who was giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly, added: “That could lead to the closure of the building.”
The MAC opened in April 2012 at a cost of nearly £18 million and was recognised with an award for its designers Hackett Hall McKnight by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Damage to the six-storey building, which houses two theatre spaces, workshops and art galleries, was first noticed in April this year when basalt stone tiles began to fall from its exterior.
It is not yet clear what is causing the damage or whether the fault may lie with the building’s design or its construction.
In a statement, a MAC spokesperson said: “We have taken precautionary steps to make the building safe while we identify the cause and scale of the overriding issue. We are working with our funders at DCAL and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland on this issue and we are confident it will be satisfactorily resolved.”
She added: “It is therefore our view that there is no question of the MAC closing.”