Naas theatre hits back at government after being snubbed for funding

Riverbank gets €1m windfall while Moat loses out

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Naas theatre hits back at government after being snubbed for funding

Moat Theatre

The Moat Theatre may be forced to close if the government continues to ignore its pleas for funding.

The theatre said it was “utterly disillusioned” at being excluded from the grants announced yesterday.

Meanwhile, in Newbridge, the Riverbank Arts Centre is to get a €1m windfall.

The Moat Theatre said it applied for €183,000 for extensive capital upgrades and refurbishment of equipment on the advice of Kildare County Council.

David Cullinane, Chairman of the Moat Theatre Ltd said “The Riverbank, as the ‘arts campus’ for County Kildare, is already a well-funded facility. The basis of this €1m grant is matched funding, which suggests that Kildare County Council, or some other arm of the state is pitching in €1m to match the €1m grant.

“That’s a total spend of €2m on capital alone. The sum total of funding that the Moat Theatre receives from the state (via local government) is €25,000. You can understand why we feel disillusioned and utterly neglected.”

He said the Riverbank already receives Arts Council funding to attract touring shows, which the Moat does not.

“It feels like all the odds are stacked against us. I believe there is room for more than one arts venue in the county, but if the Moat does not get the support we have identified in our strategic four-year plan, there will only be one, because we will not be able to survive.”

South Kildare TD, Martin Heydon said the Department’s Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018 funding would be “a game changer” for the Riverbank venue.

“This allocation will allow for a full refurbishment of the theatre which will bring improved and increased seating in the theatre as well as increasing the size and depth of the stage.”

He said the application was backed by Kildare County Council, who will be funding some of the redevelopment.

Riverbank venue director, Linda Geraghty, stated “this is an excellent opportunity for Riverbank Arts Centre to make much needed improvements to the venue facilities, particularly in terms of accessibility.

“We are very appreciative of the support and acknowledgement received from the Department through this scheme.”