Liam Neeson last night told of his delight after the Lyric Theatre finally reached it £18.1m fundraising target.
The appeal began in 2003 when the theatre launched plans to build a new home on its riverbank site. Hollywood star Neeson, who is patron of the Lyric, was closely involved in the fundraising, hosting dinners in Belfast, London and New York where he was joined by Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn.
Many other well-known local faces have also championed the Lyric’s cause including Ciaran Hinds, Brian Kennedy, Dan Gordon, James Nesbitt, Seamus Heaney, and Brian Friel.
Welcoming the news, Ballymena man Neeson said: “I am overjoyed and would like to thank the many generous individuals and organisations who have made this possible.
“I visited the new theatre recently and was incredibly impressed with the progress that has been made.”
The new theatre is scheduled to open in spring 2011.