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Abbey Theatre commits to changes after 'frank' discussions with artists

The Abbey Theatre has committed to a series of changes after holding "frank" discussions with the...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.00 2 May 2019


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Abbey Theatre commits to chang...

Abbey Theatre commits to changes after 'frank' discussions with artists

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.00 2 May 2019


Share this article


The Abbey Theatre has committed to a series of changes after holding "frank" discussions with theatre professionals.

Earlier this year, more than 300 actors, directors and playwrights wrote to the Culture Minister to express their "concern and dissatisfaction" with the direction that the Abbey Theatre has taken.

The professionals claimed the Abbey's change in strategy - to include many more co-productions with independent theatre companies and fewer in-house productions - is damaging Irish theatre.

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It led to the Arts Council withholding €300,000 in funding for the Abbey pending assurances about 'employment opportunities' for Irish-based artists.

In a report released today, the Abbey said it met with actors, writers, technicians, directors and designers in a series of meetings in March.

It says it has "great respect for the artists who signed the letter and has taken its content and the concerns raised by this important group of practitioners very seriously".

It has pledged to a range of commitments, including considering pay issues impacting the various different groups.

The theatre has also committed to several dedicated actions for each of the different groups.

A vouched expenses budget of €500 will be reinstated for costume designers.

In response to actors' concerns, it has pledged to provide a timetabled plan to reinstate a permanent casting presence.

It also says a playwright’s name will now be clearly displayed beneath the title of the play when it is first displayed on the theatre's website.

The theatre also has told producers and technicians that it will "accurately reflect the contract status of each show" on both printed material and the website.

In the report, the national theatre said: "The Abbey Theatre has learned from this dialogue process, and is firmly committed to enhancing the quality of its engagement with all theatre disciplines by establishing clear, accessible and timely communications.

"The full implementation of the actions to which the Theatre has committed will be monitored by the Board of the Abbey Theatre and will be reported on to the Arts Council."

Main image: File photo of Abbey Theatre. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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