'It gives us a huge amount of hope': Funding for live events sector welcomed in Cork  

The Government yesterday announced an additional €50m in funding to support the live performance sector.
'It gives us a huge amount of hope': Funding for live events sector welcomed in Cork  

Ciaran Bermingham as Lola Twankey and Fionula Linehan as Wishee Washee at the Everyman Threatre Panto-Aladdin- which opened last night. Picture: Miki Barlok

KEY figures across the arts scene in Cork have welcomed the announcement of an additional €50m in Government funding to support the live performance sector, which will go some way towards “easing the burden” on the industry.

The supports announced by Minister Catherine Martin yesterday are in response to the introduction of new restrictions on live performance capacities, which came into effect on Tuesday, and are to remain in place until January 9.

Speaking to The Echo following the announcement, Cork Opera House CEO, Eibhlín Gleeson, said that the funding is “definitely welcome news” coming at a time when the sector “really needed some help”.

“The minister has acknowledged that it’s a particularly difficult time for us and the acknowledgment of that together with some support eases the burden to a certain extent,” said Ms Gleeson.

“It certainly doesn’t fix all the problems but it definitely makes everything feel a little less scary.”

Eibhlin Gleeson, CEO of Cork Opera House said while the funding would not fix the problems, it made them 'a little less scary'. 
Eibhlin Gleeson, CEO of Cork Opera House said while the funding would not fix the problems, it made them 'a little less scary'. 

The funding includes €5m for the seasonal musical theatre and pantomime scheme; €34m for the live performance support scheme; €5m for local authorities’ artists and performance supports; €5m adaptation grants for venues, and €1m for St Patrick’s Festival 2022.

A further extension of the music and entertainment business assistance schemewill be announced in January.

For Cork Opera House — which is pulling out all the stops to ensure this year’s pantomime Nanny Nellie’s Adventures in Pantoland proceeds as planned despite audiences being reduced to 50% capacity per show — the announcement of an increase in funding for the seasonal musical theatre and pantomime scheme is particularly welcome.

On Tuesday, Cork Opera House announced that in order to facilitate all patrons who have booked tickets to the panto, it will add an additional 26 shows to the run to adhere to capacity restrictions.

“As a result of the restrictions, we have incurred additional costs because, obviously, it costs more to put on more shows,” said Ms Gleeson.

“This [extra funding announcement] is extremely welcome in that regard.

“We made the decision before the news of the funding came out but we anticipated that there would be some support and we’re really, really pleased now to see that the department has come through with this.”

This was echoed by the artistic director of The Everyman, Sophie Motley.

Sophie Motley, the artistic director at The Everyman, Cork welcomed the funding. 
Sophie Motley, the artistic director at The Everyman, Cork welcomed the funding. 

“It gives us a huge amount of hope because it means that we will be able to mitigate losses from having to cut the capacity in half,” she said.

“It also means that we will be able to claim up to 100% of the costs of making the panto in December but also in January.

“The fact that the minister has extended the amount available really does help because it was a big risk making a decision to rehearse and put on a panto.”

The Everyman’s panto Aladdin commenced last night and runs until January 16.

“For us, there are 80 people involved in the making of our panto and that’s 80 jobs in Cork City.

“We are a charity and everything that comes out of the panto goes back into the work we do with local artists and communities so it’s really, really important for us,” said Ms Motley.

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