Archive for September, 2008

Dublin Theatre Sells Out

30th September 2008 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports that despite the recession in Ireland ticket sales for the Dublin Theatre Festival have been very healthy.

But the economic downturn has had no impact on the event, with ticket sales 40% ahead of the same period last year and some of the 27 shows to be staged over the 18 days of the festival already sold out.

“We are one of the few sectors of the economy where revenue and sales are growing,” said Loughlin Deegan, festival artistic director and chief executive. “It would be interesting to know why, when times are bad, people return to the theatre.”

Perhaps, he suggested, it was that holidays abroad were being cancelled because of the credit crunch, with the money being spent on home entertainment instead.

He described the box office queues on opening day as unprecedented. Among the shows for which there is already a waiting list for tickets are The Year of Magical Thinking at the city’s Gaiety Theatre, with Vanessa Redgrave, directed by David Hare, and Black Watch, the award-winning show from the National Theatre of Scotland, which is running at the Royal Dublin Society’s Shelbourne Hall. Strong ticket sales are also reported for the National Theatre’s production of Happy Days, with Fiona Shaw, at the Abbey.

Valentine in October

29th September 2008 by Maura McHugh

Dublin Valentines is a series of twice-yearly public conversations at the axis:ballymun between Dermot Bolger and well known writers, who are from or live in Dublin, about their work and relationship with the city.

On Monday October 6th at 8pm, Paul Durcan and Brian Keenan will join Dermot for an evening of readings and talk about Dublin.

Paul Durcan is one of Ireland’s finest living poets. His works include The Berlin Wall Café (1985); Daddy, Daddy (1990); Cries of an Irish Caveman (2001) and The Laughter of Mother (2007). His popular radio talks for The Pat Kenny Radio Show were published as Paul Durcan’s Diary and he has held the Ireland Chair of Poetry.

Brian Keenan became headline news when he was kidnapped by fundamentalist Shi’ite militiamen and held in Beirut for four and a half years. He explored this experience in his autobiographical book, An Evil Cradling (1992), and has since gone on to forge a career as an author with Turlough (2000), and his travelogue/memoir, Four Quarters of Light: An Alaskan Journey (2004).

Dermot Bolger is Playwright in Association with axis, who have staged his works in Ballymun as well as Britain, America, Poland and Belgium. The final part of his Ballymun Trilogy, The Consequences of Lightning, will be staged by axis this November/December.

Revenue Tightens 481

29th September 2008 by Maura McHugh

The Sunday Business Post reports that the Irish Revenue Commissioners has set tighter regulations for companies that want to use the Section 481 tax relief in the production of television and film.

Revenue has traditionally requested information from producers before a film is made. However, there was no legal requirement for film producers to hand over certain information.

This has now been changed, and the new regulations “give legal certainty to Revenue’s practice of requesting the submission of specific information currently contained in guidelines,” according to a statement from the Revenue Commissioners.

The guidelines also require the “provision of more detailed certification by the auditors of the qualifying company”.

Applications for Section 481 tax relief must now be made 21 days before production is due to begin.

Section 481 relief was meant to finish at the end of this year, but was extended until the end of 2012 in the last finance bill. Individuals may invest up to €31,750 annually, with a minimum of €250.

Tax relief on 80 per cent of their investment is available to individual and corporate investors.

Berlinale 2009

26th September 2008 by Maura McHugh

The deadline for applications for the Berlinale Talent Campus 2009 (7-12 February) is the 8th October, 2008.

Since 2003, the Berlin International Film Festival has encouraged young filmmakers from all over the world and all professional fields to apply to the Berlinale Talent Campus. Over 350 of them are invited to Berlin each year to reflect on their ideas about film in lectures, ateliers and panel discussions, and to work on their projects in specialized hands-on workshops.

Tapping into the unique atmosphere of a great film festival, the Campus takes place simultaneously with the Berlinale. It brings together aspiring talents and experienced film professionals for a six-day program that touches on essential issues of filmmaking such as story development, cinematographic styles, production models and new markets.

To qualify you must be able to answer yes to the following questions:

  • Have you worked on a short film that was awarded a prize?
  • Has your work screened at an international film festival?
  • Have you worked on a film of at least 60 minutes in length?
  • Are you a film student in your final year or in a post-graduate programme?

Applicants can also opt to apply for intensive training during the Berlinale, such as the Script Station.

This is a hands-on training programme for screenwriters participating in the Berlinale Talent Campus To be considered for this project, complete the online application to the Berlinale Talent Campus here. The application deadline is October 8, 2008.

For the Script Station, 10-12 feature film projects are selected. The screenwriters participate in one-on-one feedback sessions with internationally renowned script consultants. During the Berlinale Talent Campus, personal sessions with these experts are arranged to provide you with concrete feedback and guidance and help you to further develop your script and its presentation.

The application process is entirely online, and further information is available on the Berlinale web site.

Martin Lynch Interview

26th September 2008 by Maura McHugh

The latest edition of Culture Northern Ireland has published a short interview with Belfast playwright Martin Lynch.