Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (2041)

Joan Burton


2041. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the number of theatre spaces in Dublin that have closed (details supplied) or are at risk of closing due to increased costs in commercial rents; her plans to ensure affordable spaces for actors and other artists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36630/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am acutely aware of the issue regarding the provision of affordable art spaces, particularly as a result of the changing property market.

Theatre has always been central to the arts in Ireland. Ireland is highly regarded for its theatre and has earned a reputation for excellence in theatre art as demonstrated through international awards for Irish companies, dramatists, directors, actors and other theatre practitioners. Irish theatre is made up of established and emerging production companies and artists, working in a vibrant and diverse sector.

Primary support for the arts including theatre is delivered through the Arts Council. The Council's funding increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018. Annual funding to the Arts Council has increased by over 15% in the past two years.

The Arts Council supports non-commercial, professional theatre production in Ireland. It seeks to fund artistic excellence both in the standard of practice and level of ambition. The Arts Council supports and develops theatre in Ireland through grant funding, project awards, support to individual artists, and support to venues, publications and resource organisations. The Arts Council, although funded by this Department, is statutorily independent in its day-to-day operations and specifically in its funding decisions.

Under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 funding of €10.214 million was awarded by my Department to a total of 134 arts organisations around the country. The list of all successful projects under this Scheme is available on my Department’s website. These allocations included funding for a number of projects involving theatre.

I also hope to announce in the near future a new capital scheme. Details of the new scheme will be available on my Department’s website.