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Counter Culture / March 25, 2022

Arts Council refuses to fund Dublin Gay Theatre Festival after 18 years

Counter Culture / March 25, 2022

Arts Council refuses to fund Dublin Gay Theatre Festival after 18 years

Words: Eva O’Beirne

The 19th edition of the festival will take place from May 2-15 2022. The future of the festival is now in jeopardy due to a lack of funding.

In 2019, the small fringe event was given a 50 per cent increase in its Arts Council support from an original amount of 10,000 euro, to produce and present a fortnight of unique LGBTQ+ Irish and international theatre in Dublin each year.

For 2019, the increased funding resulted in a highly praised festival, launched and lauded by the Minister for Art and Culture and attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. But for this year’s festival, funding has been cut by 100 per cent.

Four hours before the state injected an additional 50 million euro in the arts and entertainment sector on October 10 2020, the Council announced a cut of 50 per cent noting ‘lack of funds’. In 2021, the Council repeated the 50 per cent cut, and currently don’t plan to fund this year’s festival.

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival has continued to support LGBTQ+ theatre despite these cuts. For the past two years, they have run bursary schemes, published books of plays and collaborated with Dubin Pride, to produce an online festival of twelve Irish plays in June.

Founder of the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Brian Merriman commented on the issue: “At a time when Dublin is losing cultural institutions such as traditional music venues and independent bookshops, we must protect what funding and festivals there are.”

“Our festival provides stages and bursary opportunities to give the crucial first chance for new writers. Indeed, it is important to note whilst the festival is based in Dublin 40% of attendees at our events were non-local suggesting that the festival has broad international and national reach without our community.”

To keep up to date with the activities of the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, click here.

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