2 February 2019
Yesterday, 1 February 2019, a representative group of theatre practitioners – Jonathan Shankey (Agent), Maureen McGlynn (Agent), Declan Conlon (Actor), Geraldine McAlinden (Actor), Louis Deslis (Actor), Sophie-Jo Wasson (Actor), Annabelle Comyn (Director), Eoghan Carrick (Director), Catherine Fay (Designer), Joe O’Byrne (Writer), Jimmy Murphy (Writer), Liam Fitzgerald (AIST), Karan O’Loughlin (Equity), Lara Hickey (Producer) and Clíona Dukes (Producer) – met with Dr Frances Ruane (Chair of the Abbey Theatre), Neil Murray (Director of the Abbey Theatre) and Sarah Durcan (Abbey Theatre Board Member) for an initial scoping meeting, following the open letter to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, (published in The Irish Times on 7 January 2019).
The meeting was a positive and productive first step. Both parties have agreed on a process of bilateral meetings to deal with the issues raised in the open letter, about the Abbey Theatre and the issues raised by the representatives of actors, agents, designers, directors, producers, technicians and writers at the meeting. An initial timeframe for this process has been established, and by the end of April 2019, a report on progress will be prepared. Each of the parties will be providing a progress update to both the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Arts Council.