As part of the refit of the Theatre Royal, a selection of artwork from the Municipal collection is now on display in the beautiful old foyer and up the staircases in the wedge section. The box office area is fine and welcoming and on the way to the good Lemon Tree Cafe I admired a crude, rude and semi-nude study by Anthony Costine, Waterford’s finest surrealist artist.

Opposite the box office there is a beautiful John O’Regan – After the Rain painted from a Ferrybank perspective.

Conor Nolan, the busy Waterford City Arts Officer, accompanied me into the old foyer area, that is a visual treat with clean lines, a curiously raised semi-circular steps area in black stone and a classy circular glass opening activated by buttons on two stainless steel bollards. Swish indeed.

I loved the conscious and unconsciously theatricality of many of the chosen artworks. The attractive actor faces on Michael Power O’Malley’s two portraits of possibly leading ladies. The implied reference to Ben Hennessy’s play The Boy Soldier in Gerard Breen’s The Guard Room Stove. The famous WDS version of Hugh Leonard’s Poker Session is echoed in Eileen Murray’s The Card Players. Edward Maguire’s Punch And Judy Show was obvious as was Kernoff’s portrait of William Butler Yeats and the four 20 Bliain studies by Tony Ryan (artist, actor, director) are a stark reminder of all things must fade and die, the curtain must come down, etc.

And one of my favourites Les Retrouves (Found Again) by Dany Lartigue of the lovers arms around each other is hopeful and inspirational.

I did find it strange that the portrait of Larry Fanning was missing and nobody of the several Theatre Royal Staff I met invited me to see around the auditorium.