Pandemic impact on Gate Theatre ‘financially devastating’

Theatre’s funding position has become increasingly difficult, accounts state

The impact of Covid-19 on the Gate Theatre in Dublin has been “financially devastating”, with it recording operating losses of €509,868 last year.

That is according to accounts for Edward MacLiammoir Dublin Gate Theatre Productions, which show the theatre’s box office revenues last year plummeted by 85 per cent from €3.17 million to €449,231 due to the shutdown.

The directors state the operational loss of €509,868 last year followed an operating surplus of €398,025 in 2019 – a negative swing of €907,893.

Due to the closure in March 2020, audience numbers last year plummeted from 99,187 to 14,980 as the number of shows staged reduced from 11 to three.


The directors state the operational loss was before taking into account Arts Council stabilisation funding of €501,969. Total Arts Council funding for 2020 amounted to €1.77 million.

After taking that funding and other income into account, the company recorded a modest deficit of €7,899.

A note attached to the accounts states the funding position of the Gate has become increasingly difficult during, and subsequent to, 2020 due to Covid-19.

The board states it has entered talks with the Arts Council and will apply for its emergency stabilisation fund later in the year if necessary to meet liabilities as they fall due.


The theatre's total income for 2020 was €2.86 million. This includes €250,938 in North America box office income, philanthropic funding and sponsorship of €292,961 and Covid wage subsidy scheme payments of €46,351.

The theatre was “dark” from March 11th, 2020,until it reopened for a Dublin Theatre Festival show, Once Before I Go, last month.

The directors state that as a response to last year’s closure, substantial voluntary cuts were made in staff costs from April onwards.

Thirty -four staff were laid off and all activity save for essential repairs and statutory obligations ceased.

The absence of box office receipts and further anticipated production losses for 2021 will cause additional pressures on working capital as the organisation plans for a staged return to normal operations, the directors say.

At the end of December last, the theatre had shareholders’ equity of €276,119. Its cash funds increased to €862,434.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times