Archive for September, 2009

Douglas Hyde Conference 2009

30th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Douglas Hyde Conference 2009, called “Culture and the Economy, Creativity and Innovation in Post Boom Ireland”, is taking place 16 – 18 October, in the Abbeyfield Hotel Conference & Leisure Centre in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon.

While creativity is most evident or pronounced within the arts sector, in any sphere it is the characteristic essential to the development of new solutions. The lateral thinking, multiple intelligences and problem solving skills central to the arts and all the creative industries represent the same creative thinking employed in technology, the environment, education or industry – creativity is the quality that allows the next new step to be conceived.

Not only is it important that we continue to value the creative sector, but perhaps now, in the current climate, it is vital that we look to the creative sector and better examine the benefits culture, creativity and innovation can bring to our society, and to our economy.

The Douglas Hyde Conference brings together thinkers, academics, artists and political leaders to investigate the potential of the Creative Economy.

Some of the speakers include Martin Cullen, Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism; Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Chairperson, Culture Ireland and Director of Irish World Academy of Music & Dance; Una McCarthy, Head of Festivals, Street Arts & Spectacle, The Arts Council; Sarah Glennie, Director, Irish Film Institute; Garry Hynes, Director, Druid Theatre Company; and Alice Lyons, Poet and Visual Artist

Details on fees and the application process are available on the web site.

Interviews about the National Campaign for the Arts

29th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

Here is a video of interviews conducted by Darragh Doyle last week, upon the launch for the National Campaign for the Arts. It includes discussions with Tania Banotti, Irish Theatre Forum; Bill Whelan, Composer; Colm Toibín, Author; Anne Enright, Author; Donal Gleeson, Actor; Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre; Lenny Abrahamson, Filmmaker; Loughlin Deegan, the Dublin Theatre Festival; Don Wycherly, Actor; Sarah Bolger, Actress.

Art Can Make us Proud

29th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

The National Campaign for the Arts website has published the speech made by Roddy Doyle at the Theatre Forum / Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival event for Dublin TDs and Dublin City Councillors, which took place on September 24 2009.

It’s called Art can make us feel proud of who we are, and in it Roddy lays out the case for how arts funding helped his career, and the career of those he worked with, to bring stories to Irish people about their lives.

Well-aimed support from the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, the Irish Film Board and from Dublin City Council can have, and does have, an enormous impact – sometimes years later. This week, one reason we feel proud of our city is because we come from the same place as Brendan Gleeson. I’m delighted – and very lucky. Because I saw – I experienced – Brendan acting in a play I wrote called BROWNBREAD. The play was produced by The Passion Machine, with support from the Arts Council, 22 years ago. I wrote it, Brendan acted in it, Paul Mercier directed it. At the risk of sounding arrogant, it was money well spent.

Winter Gay Festival

29th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is running a special winter programme for the first time.

From October 23rd to November 1st 2009 there will be productions from the UK, Ireland, the USA and Africa held in the city centre.

The ever popular Theatre shorts programme will run for a week in the Cobalt Cafe. Highlights include the play we had hoped to stage in May, Loupe, a production from Zimbabwe, that explores sexuality, HIV and brotherly love and Joe Steiff’s storytelling Golden Corral from the USA, a play about growing up gay in deepest redneck territory. Nuala Kelly’s And Then There Was Me – a lesbian coming out play, and many more. More details coming soon!

Cullen Wants Irish Film Board

28th September 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Irish Times reported on Friday that Minister for the Arts, Martin Cullen, has come out in support of retaining the Irish Film Board as an independent body.

Mr Cullen agreed with Labour arts spokeswoman Mary Upton that a merger would mean the film board “will be gobbled up and become a non-entity. It will have no defined or separate role, which is very important for the film industry”. She added that it earned net profit of €303 million last year, even allowing for tax breaks.

The Minister said there was a “strong rationale for the retention of the Irish Film Board because it is delivering jobs and is a positive international marketing message for this country”.

Some 6,000 people are employed in the industry and “this success guides me in stating that the board should be retained as it is and with current functions. It is achieving the goals we set out for it.”

Fine Gael arts spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell agreed that a merger with the Enterprise Board would be “inappropriate” but made noises about the need for the board’s office in both Galway and Dublin, and a need for it to become more competitive.

“Is there a way to ensure that the board will become super-efficient in order that the entire industry might be more competitive when the good times return?”

She warned that the board should not be supporting “uncompetitive practices”. Ireland appeared to be “extremely uncompetitive” in trade pay rates and “it costs more to make films here than it does in any other country”.

Ah yes, those mythical good times that everyone foresees ahead of us. How about dealing with the difficult present time, which is going to be made more difficult with the slew of budget cuts facing us? Plus, apparently, those of us working in film have uncompetitive pay rates – compared to whom? Perhaps those residing in countries with lower wages and cost of living?

So, I guess they’ll be asking for wage cuts next. A concept that will be met with grim amusement from Irish screenwriters, who are woefully underpaid already. Perhaps we should compare our pay rates with those in the UK or the USA? I think we’ll discover then what market runs the cheapest bargain when it comes to screenwriting.