26 Sept 2022

Bucket catching leaks on Dunamaise stage at Laois County Council meeting


Dunamaise Arts Centre

A glaring reminder of the financial impact of Covid on the arts industry was a bucket catching drips that shared the stage with Laois County Council management in the Dunamaise Arts Centre this week.

The council held what is expected to be their final full socially distanced council meeting at the theatre, on September 27, as the pandemic recedes. 

Among the issues discussed was the financial hit that the theatre has taken along with all of the arts sector across Ireland. 

Dunamase Arts Centre is an associated company of Laois County Council, and relies on national funding to keep going.

While it is now getting busier again with events lined up for Autumn, a report from the company to the meeting said it will take 2022 to build back up to what it was pre-pandemic.

“The impact on the company of the long phases of closure in 2020 has resulted in a stark reduction of all generated income and a reliance on state funding. The covid-19 pandemic has impacted the company very severely.

Both the Arts Council and Laois County Council maintained their annual funding commitments. The Department of Arts also made emergency re-opening funding available and the Arts Council granted a Capacity Building Fund which is being used to draw up a new strategic business paln to bring the theatre through the coming years, building back audiences and pursuing new opportunities.

“Staff resources were kept to a minimum until the venue reopened gradually from July 5, with first live performances in September. While it is hoped to get back to fuller capacities over Q4 2021 it will take time throughout 2022 to build back up.

“In order to continue to provide services and facilities to artists and audiences alike across our community, the Company relies on local authority and arts council funding as well as careful management of the cost base, to minimise the burden of expenditure while trading is at a reduced level,” the Dunamase Arts Centre said. 

Cllr James Kelly had spotted the bucket from the audience (posing beside it below).

“Looking behind the team I see a bucket holding water. I hope extra funding will be made available,” he said.

Director of Services for the arts Donal Brennan said that some repairs had been carried out and more are to follow. 

See new Autumn event in the Dunamaise Arts Centre on their website 

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