THE Moat Theatre in Naas has been thrown a financial lifeline.
Naas Town Council has come up with a €15,000 grant – 3 months after a warning that the theatre would close unless financial assistance was forthcoming.
It’s understood that €5,000 of the total grant is to be directed to the summer street carnival.
“We are thrilled to receive the money; the financial support of the town council is much appreciated as the interest the council has in the theatre,” Moat Club chairman John Brickley told the Leader.
He said that while the grant will not solve the theatre’s financial troubles, he was confident it would now remain open.
“We in the theatre are looking at trying to cut costs and to make cutbacks and we are also hoping to get other support as well. Over time we hope to come out of this situation,” Mr. Brickley added.
The 200 seat venue was €26,000 in the red when board member Michael Broe approached Naas Town Council.
He said that unless it receives financial assistance it’s own auditors have indicated that “it will be impossible to keep the theatre open.”
The theatre’s financial problems began some 3 years ago and this meant 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.”
Mr. Broe said: “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 3 people employed in the theatre, open since 2003, and another person is engaged on the Work Placement Scheme.
A further 3 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 for the commercial life of Naas because the theatre attracts people into the town centre even in the current economic climate.
“We deal with numerous local suppliers and sub contractors whose businesses benefit from our existence by providing and maintaining employment.”
Mr. Broe also pointed to the social benefits of the enterprise because hundreds of children and teenagers pass through attending classes and taking part in shows.