Sir, – The North American musical Come From Away, currently on the Abbey stage, is another attractive show to be seen over the Christmas period. The puzzle is why a production created outside Ireland and on its way to London's West End is playing for seven weeks at the Irish National Theatre. The Abbey receives by far the greatest share of the Arts Council theatre budget, and the assumption must be that this subvention is an investment in the vast creative talent within the Irish theatre community. Is it appropriate that there should be no representation of Irish-based writers, directors, actors and designers on the main Abbey stage for two months of the year for which it receives generous public funding?
Some 140 Abbey staff are listed in the Come From Away programme and they are among the most experienced and committed practitioners of theatre in Ireland. Many freelancers on the Irish theatre scene are available for their expertise also to be engaged. Surely it is the responsibility of our National Theatre to draw on this well of home-based talent, recognised and envied outside our shores, to produce its own show for Christmas. – Yours, etc,