Michael Colgan steps down after 33 years at the Gate Theatre

Artistic director will hand over to successor – the fourth in theatre’s history – within a year

The artistic director of the Gate Theatre in Dublin, Michael Colgan, is stepping down after 33 years in the post.

While the theatre has made no formal announcement, it has confirmed that an advertisement in The Irish Times yesterday seeking applications for the position of director is for his successor, who will take over within the next 12 months.

Mr Colgan is by far the longest-serving chief executive in the Irish theatre world, as well as the most highly remunerated, receiving €231,000 in salary, expenses and pension payments last year.

Now aged 65, he is widely regarded as the most successful theatre producer of his generation.


Under his direction, the Gate has brought critically acclaimed work to Irish audiences and on successful tours to the UK, US and elsewhere, including four Pinter festivals and six Beckett festivals.

The Gate’s productions have featured work by many internationally acclaimed directors and actors, and have been critically praised across the world.

In 2006 he was awarded the Irish Times Theatre Award for Lifetime Achievement. More recently he was awarded an OBE in the British honours list for services to cultural relations between the UK and Ireland.

Artistic vision

The advertisement for a new director states the theatre is seeking “an experienced and dynamic theatre professional who combines artistic vision with significant experience of running an arts organisation”.

The successful applicant will be only the third person to take up the position since the Gate's foundation in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir.

Mr Colgan’s total pay makes him the best-paid arts administrator in the country.

In recent years his pay has been the cause of friction between the Gate and its largest funder, the Arts Council. The council, which provided €860,000 in funding to the theatre in 2015, has described Mr Colgan's remuneration as "disproportionate".

The salary scale for the next director has not been revealed.


After its foundation the Gate used the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock studio theatre space to stage important works by European and American dramatists.

The theatre later moved to its current premises in Cavendish Row, part of the Rotunda Hospital complex, which architect Michael Scott converted into a theatre.

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan

Hugh Linehan is an Irish Times writer and Duty Editor. He also presents the weekly Inside Politics podcast