As our national theatre, the Abbey plays a vital role in Irish cultural life, providing entertainment to theatre goers and vital employment to hundreds of members of the Irish theatre community.
Last year, 300 of these workers expressed grave concern about the direction the Abbey had taken in terms of it’s in-house productions, saying the reliance on co-productions or buy ins over in-house productions was having a devastating impact on the theatre community here.
However, here we are nearly one later, and theatre professionals are expressing the same concerns, saying the Abbey’s programme for 2020 offers just 38 job opportunities next year.
We all know that there is a wealth of Irish talent from an acting and a writing perspective. Why aren’t more in-house shows being offered on our national stage as part of the Abbey’s programme for next year?
The Minister for Culture and the Board of the Abbey must take heed of the legitimate concerns of writers, actors and theatre practitioners that the Abbey is failing in its mandate as Ireland’s national theatre. A meaningful dialogue to address their concerns is urgently required, and is the least they are entitled.