‘Test live performances’ to take place in National Concert Hall and Abbey

Events to take place later in December, says Minister for Arts and Culture

A series of "test live performances" will begin next weekend in the National Concert Hall and the Abbey Theatre, the Minister for Arts and Culture Catherine Martin has announced.

One concert in the NCH next Saturday and a series of performances over eight days in the Abbey during the Christmas period will be closely monitored to see if such events can be held safely. The question of a wider reopening of the performance sector will be addressed in the new year.

The announcement came on Sunday afternoon in a statement from Ms Martin, whose officials have been in close contact with representatives of the performing arts in recent weeks.

The test performances "will include a performance of the Irish Chamber Orchestra at the National Concert Hall on Saturday, December 19th, and a production of Landmark Productions and Octopus Theatricals's innovative "Theatre for One" at the Abbey Theatre for a limited run from Friday, December 18th," the statement said.

“I am acutely aware of the great importance of drama and music in all of our lives and these events are an important step in showing that these are controlled spaces which can operate safely at this time,” Ms Martin said.

The concert at the NCH next weekend will be a special Christmas Celebration with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Details of ticketing will be announced in the coming days, the Department said.

The Abbey will host Theatre for One - comprised of six five-minute plays by leading Irish playwrights - with each original play “performed by one actor, for one audience member in a specially designed booth”. This is scheduled to run from December 18th-23rd.

After Christmas, "Theatre for One (and a Little One)", for one adult and one child aged ten or under, will run from December 29th-31st, in co-production with the Abbey Theatre and featuring newly commissioned work by Roddy Doyle, Sonya Kelly, Louis Lovett and Pauline McLynn, according to the Department.

In a statement, Abbey directors Graham McLaren and Neil Murray said it would be "an intimate performance for young audiences".

“Reopening is a journey, one that will be travelled slowly and safely,” they said.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times