Archive for August 12th, 2020

Abbey’s Artistic Directors Stepping Down

12th August 2020 by admin

On Tuesday, 28th July 2020, it was announced that Graham McLaren and Neil Murray are to step down from their roles in July 2021. The press release noted: “In view of the challenges and opportunities in the coming years, and following consideration of its strategy and its leadership requirements for that period, the board has decided that this new leadership structure is in the best interests of the national theatre”.

Their tenure was problematic, causing an outcry among theatre practitioners and provoking a highly effective campaign, of which WGI member Joe O’Byrne was at the forefront. Of particular concern to the WGI was the abolition of the position of Literary Manager and its replacement with the new role of Dramaturg, which the Guild feels diminishes the independence and status of the previous position, the importation of productions previously presented by theatre companies elsewhere and, most alarmingly, the radical reduction of the number of new, full-length plays by Irish writers actually produced and staged by the Abbey.

Attempts to get the management to address the substantive issues foundered and the temperature of the exchanges grew white hot. The Guild published a letter declaring no confidence in the Abbey Board and campaigned directly to the Arts Council and the Department of Arts, Culture and Heritage where it became clear there was a considerable sympathy with our point of view.

The Writers Guild of Ireland share the Abbey’s concern for the best interests of the national theatre, and wish the Abbey board every success in the hunt for a new director/s.

Paul Stuart

12th August 2020 by admin

It is with deep regret and sadness that we mourn the passing of Guild member Paul Stuart. Paul was a very bright, talented and dedicated writer and artist. He worked hard at his craft, had a brilliant sense of humour and would regularly engage people in lively conversations and debates.

Paul was extremely well-liked and will be sorely missed by his friends in the Guild. Paul was a terrific addition to the writing group team, always supportive, patient and had a wonderful sense of humour. He’ll be really missed.

- Patricia Kelly

Paul had a distinctive voice on and off the page. He wrote in every genre, he was so talented he could create different worlds, unfortunately he left this one too soon. Paul was loved by everyone in the group and will be sadly missed.

- Lesley McLoughlin

Paul Stuart was such an important member of the group when I was there. He was everything that a creative group needs in its members. He was enthusiastic, really inclusive and very adept at reading the room. He knew how to put new members at their ease and he also was very good at dispelling tension. And, he was funny. Very funny. In summary, Paul was sound. Paul was also a talented writer with an abundance of original ideas. He was great at pitching and I still smile when I think of Paul leaning over the table and pointing an index finger in the air to begin a pitch with the phrase ‘Picture this …’ It wasn’t until Paul left the group that I realised what a natural, unassuming leader he had been. I feel very lucky that there was a time in my life when, every second Thursday, I got to sit in a room with Paul for a couple of hours and dream.

- Ciara Flanagan

https://rip.ie/death-notice/paul-stuart-drumcondra-dublin/429312

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