The Arts Council today strongly welcomed the Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s announcement of trial arts events for live audiences throughout the country in June and July, saying artists and arts organisations have been planning for months to bring back live performances as soon as possible under Covid-19 health guidelines.
The Taoiseach said that from 7 June theatres can re-open. And he added: “There will be a number of pilot sporting and cultural events taking place in June and early July, to test the logistical requirements for further reopening.”
And Arts Minister Catherine Martin confirmed that all theatres can finally re-open.
The government agency for funding and developing the arts said it is working closely with its key arts organisations, and with colleagues in the Department of Health and the Department of Arts, to ensure people in Galway, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and other locations could experience live performances again in June and July, as part of a pilot scheme. The events, in a variety of venues with different audience capacities, will be organised in strict compliance with the current public health guidelines.
Theatres and other performance spaces have been dark since March 2020, with many artists and arts organisations facing huge challenges planning or making work in the uncertainty of the pandemic. Meanwhile, their audiences suffered by not being able to go out to concerts, gigs, theatre, dance and other performances. Arts Council research shows that while more people were willing to watch and even pay for performances online, most would love to go back to live events – so long as it is safe to do so.
“Artists, arts practitioners and the public can barely wait to get back to live performances, and this is a great first step – we are coming back!” said Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly. “We worked closely with organisations we already fund and that we knew had the capacity to create pilot performances. These events will be very closely monitored and controlled, and we will be sharing the learnings with the entire arts sector as we go along. Technical personnel in the arts routinely work to exceptionally high standards of health and safety enabling the public to have a very high level of trust in the reopening of this vital part of Irish life".
Among the performances being planned are Molique and Piazzolla by the Irish Chamber Orchestra in the University of Limerick Concert Hall on 23 June; One Good Turn, by Úna McKevitt, in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in the final week of June; and a concert performance by Irish National Opera in the Cork Opera House on 10 July.
Other pilot events will be announced in the weeks ahead.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said: "I’ve also secured agreement that from 7 June all cinemas, including drive-in venues, and theatres can finally re-open."
"Cabinet has agreed today a list of exciting test events for arts and sport that I am organising," she said. "“Music, dance, performance, comedy, theatre, GAA, rugby, football and athletics are all coming back."
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