Archive for July 2nd, 2007

Funding the Big Picture

2nd July 2007

The Stage reports that the largest ever production grant has been awarded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to the award-winning play, Scenes From the Big Picture, written by Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty.

The sprawling 40-scene play requiring a cast of 21, which paints a panoramic portrait of a hot summer’s day in Belfast, was first seen at the National Theatre in 2003. It won McCafferty the John Whiting Award, the Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for New Playwriting and the Meyer Whitworth Award and has since been staged in America, Australia, Germany and Macedonia.

Now Prime Cut Productions are to stage the play in Belfast in September after securing a grant of £79,000 from the Arts Council-administered Lottery Projects fund. The award follows substantial support for the project from Belfast City Council, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Foyle Foundation, and gives a green light to what Edel Magill, Prime Cut’s co-executive producer, says will be “one of the largest and most ambitious productions by a local theatre company in Northern Ireland in the last ten years”.

Write in Laois

2nd July 2007

Laois County Council is looking for applicants for its Writer in Residence for six months from September 2007 to March 2008. Any professional writer who has been published in English or Irish can apply. The deadline for entries is July 19, 2007.

Call for Funding

2nd July 2007

According to the latest Arts Council Newsletter, the Arts Council is urging the incoming Government to provide €100 million to fund the arts in 2008, which is a €20 million increase on the 2007 figure.

In a statement, Arts Council Chair, Olive Braiden, noted that €100 million would be a significant investment and would stabilise the arts sector in Ireland for the first time ever. This stability would enable artists and arts organisations to work regularly in schools, in communities and other settings as well as playing their crucial role in the life of the nation, improving the quality of our life at home and enhancing Ireland’s cultural reputation in the international arena.

Stressing the need for €100m Olive Braiden reiterated that the value of the arts should not be underestimated.

Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council, said: “Our new knowledge economy needs the arts more than ever. It’s our ability to adapt, our creativity and our management of knowledge that will secure our future success. All of these much needed and increasingly highly rated traits stem directly from an involvement in and exposure to the arts, so it makes financial sense for the Government to continue to invest in the arts.”