A NEW arts centre for Dundalk has been proposed by Dundalk Town Council The council is hoping to set up a new company to run the council’s arts service.
Mr David Storey, senior executive officer, Dundalk Town Council, told the monthly meeting of the council that the plan was to bring the arts facilities in the Town Hall: the Tain Theatre, The Space, Basement Gallery, Maeve’s Bar, and the box office facilities, under one new arts compnay.
The Tain Theatre is idle for most of the year and the Basement Gallery, which is beneath the theatre in the Town Hall, needs better promotion.
Mr Storey said the council wants an independent company to run a Dundalk arts centre.
“We have one of the best facilities in the norht east,” he said, “but we are not getting a return.
“We are propossing a new limited company is set up. There is a capacity for new board and staff to bring in more shows and more revenue.
Mr Brian Harten, Arts Officer Louth Local Authorities, told councillors Droichead Arts Centre is managed by a limit company and that is the model they are looking towards.
He said it is not just a matter of increasing revenue. It’s about building a much stronger infrastructure for the arts in Dundalk.
The new company will have seven board members.
Two town councillors sit on the board which will include a legal advisor, an accountant, and the county arts officer.
It is hoped the company will be set up early next year.
The town council contributes E150,000 towards the Tain Theatre and this should be enough to get the company up and running.
Shows are already booked for the beginning of the year.
The Town Hall has magnificent facilities but at the moment these facilities are being fully utilised.
This would be an opportunity to do just that.
Four of the three facilities in the Town Hall are currently under used and that is why the counclil want to take this route.
The council does not have the staff to run the facilities.
It will be up to the new company to recruit staff to run the facilities.
Dundalk has a rich heritage of amateur drama and musicals, and is proud of its performing traditions. Many local heroes and international stars have graced the stage of the Town Hall Theatre.
The Abbey Players have performed there and its former Arts Director Tomas Mac Anna cut his teeth directing shows during the drama festivals in Dundalk town Hall in the 1940s.
After a major technical and facilities up-grade in 2002, An Táin, as the theatre is now called, a 360-seat performance venue, with a bar and a smaller studio.
It is now one of the finest theatres in the country but as stated at the town council meeting, it is seriously underused.
The new arts company could be the answer to that.