The Gate Theatre announced today that the venue will remain closed until 2021 due to forced cancellations and loss of box office earnings resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
As one of Ireland’s two full-time producing theatres, the theatre relies heavily on box office earnings, which amount to 67 per cent of the venue’s annual income. The limitations necessitated by social distancing would therefore put an immense strain on the viability of the venue if it were to re-open in the coming months, according to its board and management.
In a press release today, Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre Selina Cartmell said: “I continue to believe in the potential of the Gate to be a crucial incubator of great Irish creative talent and a powerful platform for the best of Irish and international artists.”
“In this brave new world we are facing together, great theatre must prevail”, she added.
The theatre closed on March 12th in compliance with the national lockdown, drawing the curtains on its run of Nancy Harris’ original play Our New Girl 10 days early.
The venue has since been forced to postpone the remainder of its Power And Freedom programme indefinitely, including a production of Sean O’Casey’s Shadow of a Gunman which was to debut in May, 2020 – 100 years since the play was historically set.
This announcement, whilst a major blow to the Dublin and national cultural scene, is a massive hit for the theatre industry in particular. In 2019, the Gate Theatre was the largest employer of Irish freelance theatre artists, with over 500 freelancers working with the venue over the course of 12 months. In normal circumstances, 2020 could have seen an increase in that number, with 568 freelancers set to be employed by the venue and over 100,000 audience members to be entertained.