Gate Theatre to remain shut until 2021 as social distancing slashes potential income

Theatre that hired more than 500 freelancers in 2019 depends on box office for 67% of income

Selina Cartmell: ‘I continue to believe in the potential of the Gate to be a crucial incubator of great Irish creative talent’

Selina Cartmell: ‘I continue to believe in the potential of the Gate to be a crucial incubator of great Irish creative talent’

 

The Gate Theatre, in Dublin, will remain shut for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Its board and management today said it has postponed all productions and will not be in a position to reopen until 2021.

Along with all other Irish theatres, the Gate closed to the public on March 12th. “The cancellation of at least nine months of programming due to the pandemic, and the resulting loss of box office, has made staging further productions at the theatre in 2020 unsustainable,” the theatre said.

One of only two full-time producing theatres in Ireland, the Gate depends heavily on box office. It says 67 per cent of its yearly income is from ticket sales, 23 per cent from the Arts Council and 10 per cent from fundraising, “so the organisation’s finances require significant audience numbers, which are simply not possible while social distancing is in place”.

The Gate says that it was the largest employer of freelance Irish theatre artists in 2019, at more than 500, and this year it had been slated to employ 568, including actors, writers and directors, for audiences of more than 100,000.

While the theatre is dark the Gate will “focus on in-depth cultural development for the organisation” while working with artists to develop and commission new projects.

The Gate’s director, Selina Cartmell, said: “As we look forward to the possibilities of what 2021 may bring, and how the Gate will play its part in helping to pioneer a new theatrical landscape, I take heart from the solidarity of our staff and our theatre colleagues as we experience this crisis together.”

She added that it was heartening to see “the hard work and commitment of the Arts Council and the National Campaign for the Arts during this time, and the recent announcement of the additional €25 million for culture by the Government is very welcome.

“Our staff and their families have faced the uncertainty of the past few months with resilience, and our team is ready for the challenges ahead. I continue to believe in the potential of the Gate to be a crucial incubator of great Irish creative talent and a powerful platform for the best of Irish and international artists. In this brave new world we are facing together, great theatre must prevail.”

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