It’s not endgame for Irish theatre, but it is a struggle

Theatre has been resilient, but with the Gate in trouble, the sector is on a knife edge

The Gate Theatre auditorium, cleared of seats to create a studio space during Covid lockdown. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

The Gate Theatre auditorium, cleared of seats to create a studio space during Covid lockdown. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

News at the Gate Theatre this week highlighted the serious difficulties facing live theatre at this point in the pandemic. Theatres (both producing theatres and receiving venues) and independent producers are treading a knife edge, and even with live performance allowed back at 100 per cent capacity big challenges remain.

Following 2020 operating losses for the Gate of €509,868 and what the theatre’s annual accounts described as the “financially devastating” impact of Covid, rumours spread within theatre circles that it was to “go dark” (ie cease to present shows) next March, following a new production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, and just as Selina Cartmell steps down after five years as director and chief executive. But Gate chair Peter Crowley confirmed that while the theatre won’t present its usual full year of productions next year, with potentially long gaps between shows in 2022, “it’s nobody’s intention for the Gate to go dark”.

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