Filling the National Concert Hall

 

Sir, – In 2018 the main hall of the National Concert Hall in Dublin was dark for 101 nights, despite business being readily available. The rental loss for just 50 per cent of that period was approximately €500,000.

At a time when the NCH is seeking corporate sponsorship for its orchestral and hall development, the rejection of guaranteed commercial rental business makes no sense whatsoever.

The introduction of a new diverse strategic programming policy relating to the NCH’s cultural development is all fine and dandy but losses on its own promotions in 2016/17 were €1.1 million.

As the NCH’s principal independent promoter over the last 25 years, I have consistently sold out the hall’s 1,200 seats, proving that a mix of popular and classical cross-over shows is what the core audience want and enjoy.

Between May 1st and June 31st this year, there will be six Sunday nights, one Saturday and one Friday when the hall is dark. Because of an archaic and non-transparent booking system, independent promoters are not being offered these dates.

Is the Minister for Culture going to spend €80 million on the new development of the NCH to leave it dark for a third of the year? – Yours, etc,

PAT EGAN,

Agent and Promoter,

Dublin 8.