Top theatre 'in jeopardy' over funding shortage
on 27/09/2013 00:00:00
Despite being recognised as one of the top five theatres in the country, the Cork venue is way down the pecking order when it comes to receiving grant aid.
"The Abbey and Gate in Dublin get €7.1m and €975,000 respectively from the Arts Council [annually], whereas we get just €194,000," said Mr Barker-Caven.
"We get an additional €34,000 from Cork City Council, whereas the Civic Theatre in Dublin and the Donaghmede Arts Centre get €277,000 and €135,000 respectively from their local authorities."
He said trying to keep things going was being made more difficult by the fact that the theatre's Arts Council grants had been cut by 35% in the past five years.
Mr Barker-Caven said the theatre "ran a very tight ship" and has never got into financial trouble or required bailouts.
"I suppose we're like the good child who does their homework and tidies up after them, so sometimes we are forgotten in the melee," he said.
More than 75,000 people have purchased tickets for productions at the Everyman Theatre in the past 12 months, which he says shows that the facility "is constantly punching way above its weight".
"We also provide an enormous amount of throughput to local hotels, restaurants, and bars, which adds to the local economy."
However, all that could be in jeopardy if the building is not upgraded.
Mr Barker-Caven said that a significant amount of money would be needed in the medium to long term to address this issue.
"This is a very old building and enormously in need of structural investment.
We do not have access to the type of government or local authority funding that would be needed for this and everything we make [at the box office] is put back into what we do on the stage," he said.
"If I got €150,000 in the morning I could spend it tomorrow just getting the building a bit more ship shape with a lick of paint. But enormous structural work is needed, especially at the back of the building on the River Lee side," he said.
"If we don't get proper investment this building will be in jeopardy. It's critical that this situation is highlighted now and it's not allowed to drift on."