Archive for the ‘the Abbey’ Category

Arts Funding Cuts

4th February 2010

The Stage reports that the Arts Council has cut the funding of the Abbey Theatre by over €1 million.

This is part of the Arts Council’s budget cuts due to its reduction in funds in the recent budget from €73.35 million in 2009 to €69.15 million for 2010.

Overall theatre funding for the year has been cut from €16,311,000 to €13,327,000. The Abbey takes the largest share of that – its allocation has been reduced from €8.35 million last year to a current figure of €7.25 million. Opera also loses, with funding cut from €3.9 million to €3.6 million, as do dance and music.

As part of the regional emphasis, both local arts and festivals and events each receives funding of over €2 million, though that is less than last year. Street arts and spectacle, as well as circus, also win financial support, though again at a reduced level. In all, 313 companies face funding cuts, with just 24 having the same level of financial support as last year.

However, the council did have some good news to announce: it has established a new fund for touring and has reduced its overall administrative budget by 30% from its 2008 level.

New Abbey Debate

5th January 2010

The Stage reported yesterday that Martin Cullen, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, plans an early decision on the proposal to move the Abbey theatre to the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, which he strongly favours.

The minister argues that relocating the Abbey makes sense, socially and economically. It would rejuvenate O’Connell Street, he says, while the move to the GPO would cost only €80-€90 million, compared with the €150-€170 million that was expected to be spent on rebuilding the theatre on an alternative docklands site.

The Abbey move has been proposed in a recently revised government plan agreed by the two partners in the current Coalition administration, Fianna Fail and the Green Party, with a grand opening suggested for 2016, the centenary of the Rising. A feasibility study of the proposal is now under way.

However, Cullen has revealed that before the issue came into public debate, “a very good international architect, who has worked with theatres”, had prepared a model of how the Abbey might be relocated to the GPO. He was shown the model, which had involved a huge amount of research. “I know it works. I saw it all and it’s fantastic,” he said.

But the Irish National Conservation and Heritage Group takes a very different view. Its spokesman, Damien Cassidy, described the proposed Abbey move as “ludicrous and crazy” and said it would succeed only in destroying two national monuments, the theatre and the GPO.

According to Cassidy, the GPO should be retained in its present role as a national monument. The Abbey move was “being pushed by an elitist group”, he claimed, and his organisation was planning a campaign to stop any interference with what he called “one of the most iconic buildings in Irish history”.

The Abbey Stays Put

22nd October 2009

The Irish Times reports today that the Abbey Theatre will remain in its current location for at least another five to six years as the Office of Public Works (OPW) has initiated a feasibility study on the possibility of relocating it in the GPO.

Minister of State for the OPW Martin Mansergh said a “considerable degree of pressure has been taken off the Abbey Theatre” because of its recent refurbishment. “It is quite happy it will be able to continue for the next five or six years until a new site is developed, hopefully in time for the centenary of the Rising in 2016.”

He told the Dáil that to date €219,590.32 had been spent in the development of a new national theatre. The Government had originally decided to relocate the Abbey to a site at George’s dock.

Dr Mansergh said the work done was “project specific”, not “site specific”, and “the vast majority of it could be transferred into the GPO if that is the decision”.

Fine Gael arts spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell described the GPO proposal as a “red herring” and said the preparation for a design competition had been going on for years. “Three Ministers have dealt with it and it still has not been announced.” She would have loved the GPO as a location “if it had come up five or six years ago when it was first announced”. But she was concerned that “it is merely a time-wasting exercise”.

The Next Stage

10th August 2009

The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival in association with Theatre Forum and the Abbey Theatre, with funding by the Arts Council, is organising a two-week programme aimed at performing artists and creators called The Next Stage.

Eighteen people will be selected to take part in a programme of master classes, talks, physical workshops and performances to broaden and deepen their experience of theatre from conception to performance.

The programme takes advantage of the unique opportunities presented by Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival and the world-class directors, playwrights, actors and designers who will be in town during the Festival.

Key information:
Dates: It begins Thursday 24 September and ends Sunday 11 October 2009. N.B The programme is intensive. It involves seeing 19 shows so you are out almost every night and participating in workshops all day including Saturdays!
Times: 10am – 6pm daily with performances most evenings.
Participation fee: (including 19 performances and all workshops and talks) €250

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 21 August.

All information on now to apply is available from the web site.

Abbey Job Losses

24th June 2009

The Stage reports that there are likely to be job losses at the Abbey theatre in Dublin, as negotiations on redundancies get underway.

The spokeswoman was keen to stress that the job cuts do not signal a new financial emergency at the Abbey.

“We are not in crisis – the action we are taking is to avoid being forced into a crisis next year or the year after,” she said. “We are simply taking precautions in what is a difficult economic climate for everyone.”

Abbey director Fiach MacConghail echoed that sentiment in a message to staff, in which he praised the “highly skilled workforce” and called the proposed job cuts regrettable.

“The theatre itself is now a well managed organisation and we are not currently in deficit,” he said. “However, the times we are living in compel us to take action sooner rather than later to avoid an otherwise inevitable financial crisis in the coming years.”