Words: Shamim de Brún
Yesterday, Tuesday, May 31, the biggest theatre in Ireland appealed for people with spare rooms to take in their performers for the duration of their run.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is owned by Crownway Investments, a private family investment company. The theatre commenced building in January 2007. The spcae opened in March 2010 with The Russian State Ballet featuring stars from the Bolshoi performing Swan Lake.
Typically the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre hosts some of the biggest touring productions in Europe, if not the world. These include Broadway smash hit Hamilton, your ma’s favourite Mama Mia, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring Duncan James from 90’s boy band Blue.
According to the post by Bord Gáis, when performers aren’t busy performing, they want ‘a friendly and affordable home from home. But according to commentators, ‘when productions go international, the producers are meant to provide accommodation in the form of a hotel or apartment’.
This system of staying in ‘spare rooms’ is known in the industry as staying in ‘digs’ and is typically associated with low budget touring theatre. It has also been called out as both ‘dangerous’ and ‘unfit for purpose by Stage Magazine. Realistically the most profitable theatre in the country should not be engaging in this practice. It’s like putting musicians set to perform at the 3 Arena in your living room.
This is the first time the Board Gáis has called for ‘digs’ for their touring performances. Unfortunately, the timing makes it seem like the prohibitive hotel prices are hitting the arts industry in real-time.
Homeless families and refugees in hotels, tourists in residential Airbnbs, and locals unable to find accommodation. Touring artists are just another in a long list of displaced people who seem to have been inadvertently impacted by the housing crises and rising inflation.
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is an iconic architectural landmark designed by a world-renowned architect, Daniel Libeskind. Their website describes themselves as an ‘essential addition to the Irish cultural landscape’.
Elsewhere on District: 10 acts you need to see at Beyond The Pale