Gate Theatre board apologises as review finds Michael Colgan has 'case to answer'

The theatre says it will now adopt a "zero tolerance policy" on inappropriate behaviour

Gate Theatre board apologises as review finds Michael Colgan has 'case to answer'

Gate Theatre. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The board of the Gate Theatre have issued an 'unreserved apology' following a review of allegations of inappropriate behviour against the theatre's former artistic director Michael Colgan.

The review got underway last November, following a series of allegations against Mr Colgan.

The independent review was conducted by independent expert Gaye Cunningham, who heard from 56 individuals - including current and former Gate employees & board members.

In a statement this afternoon, the board says the review found "credible and consistent testimonies" of behaviours suggesting that Mr Colgan has a "case to answer" regarding "dignity at work issues, abuse of power and inappropriate behaviours".

The board has apologised to those who experienced behaviours reported to Ms Cunningham, "where people felt unable to invoke existing grievance procedures".

The theatre will now adopt a "zero tolerance policy" on inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

'Real change'

Speaking about the findings, Peter Crowley, chairperson of the Gate's board, said: "The Board apologises unreservedly to those who experienced the behaviours reported to Ms. Cunningham as part of her Review. We recognise that a culture existed in the Gate whereby too much power was vested in one individual and people felt unable to speak out and we accept that the Board had an onus to be more aware of the culture prevailing in the theatre over time.

"I want to reassure the people who came forward that their voices have been heard and that their participation will lead to real change in how the Gate operates in the future."

The Gate board says it will now implement a number of recommendations set out in the review - including the continuation of a confidential counselling service set up late last year; new HR policies and the pursuit of a "culture of openness and transparency".

Selina Cartmell, the current artistic director of the theatre, observed: "Leading the Gate Theatre through the difficult times of the past few months has been deeply confronting and challenging.

"We have already embarked on the journey of transforming the culture at the theatre and with the team at the Gate we will proactively be leading on Ms. Cunningham's recommendations."

She added: "I am personally committed to re-building trust within the arts community as we at the Gate collaborate, listen to others and strive for artistic excellence while creating an environment that is safe, open, equal and accessible."

The board says it intends to release the full review once it has been legally examined.

In November, Mr Colgan apologised to any person who he has hurt or who was made to feel upset.