theatre crisis

THE iconic Moat Theatre in Naas faces closure unless it gets financial aid to meet day-to-day costs.

THE iconic Moat Theatre in Naas faces closure unless it gets financial aid to meet day-to-day costs.

Despite efforts to cut bills and maximise incoming revenue, the 200 seat venue is currently E26,000 in the red.

Theatre board member Michael Broe said that unless it receives financial assistance, its own auditors have indicated that “it will be impossible to keep the theatre open.”

The theatre’s financial problems began some three years ago and Mr. Broe said this means that it is not breaking even and is running at a loss.

“Most community theatres do not operate in profit but would aspire to break even. In recent years we have not achieved this,” Mr Broe added.

The situation has been made worse by the fact that it has no access to additional funds from the bank beyond the existing overdraft arrangement – which has been used to absorb losses in recent years.

Management have tried to tackle the financial woes by cutting running costs where possible, re-letting the cafe and “increased and vigorous fundraising.”

Now it is seeking E30,000 from Naas Town Council to stay open.

Mr Broe told a town council meeting last : “Sustaining the role of the theatre in the current economic climate has become very challenging in the past few years and we have worked very hard to literally keep the show on the road.”

There are three people employed in the theatre, open since 2003, and another person is engaged on the Work Placement Scheme. A further three people work in the cafe.

Mr Broe pointed out that these staff live locally and contribute to the local economy.

He said there are wider implications in any closure for the commercial life of Naas because the theatre attracts people into the town centre, even in the current economic climate.

“We do this with large groups of parents dropping and collecting children from classes up to four days a week and a lot of these will combine this with shopping visits.”

Audiences also spend money in pubs and restaurants before or after performances and these contributions are significant. “Local suppliers and sub contractors benefit from our existence by providing and maintaining employment,” he said.