Focus Theatre Gone


From The Focus Theatre:

Focus Theatre is leaving its theatre premises at 6, Pembroke Place [Dublin] at the end of April. It has been resident in the theatre for 45 Years. In the absence of Arts Council support Focus is unable to pay the rent on its theatre premises.

Focus is also responding to the policy of The Arts Council which encourages arts organisations to be self supporting. Due to the small size of the building the Theatre cannot generate sufficient income from productions to make itself-sustaining. Mindful of this, the Board of Focus Theatre is looking for a new and more viable space which will meet the requirements of The Arts Council.

Deirdre O Connell and her husband Luke Kelly (above) of The Dubliners located the building in 6 Pembroke Place originally and they along with their friends carried out renovations to the Theatre. That was the time when it was possible to be bohemian and effective without requiring inaccessible amounts of financial support. The world then was a more innocent place where a couple of 20 years old could find a little building and convert it into a Theatre space, something which would be impossible in today’s world. Deirdre O Connell then taught the Stanislavsky System and put on productions in the Theatre until her death. Focus Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013.


Focus Theatre

25 thoughts on “Focus Theatre Gone

    1. Claire

      @sheridansays Make sure you spend the Summer driving on every single inch of every single road the
      length of the country

  1. Alan

    @sheridansays That’s the kind of hard-nosed, soulless, mé féin attitude that got us all into this mess in the first place. Keep it up and soon we won’t have any arts because YOU couldn’t be bothered going to anything, we won’t have any hospitals because YOU aren’t particularly sick at the moment, and we won’t have any teachers because YOU’VE already done your leaving cert and couldn’t give a tuppenny damn about those coming up behind you. Your taxes and my taxes should pay for the benefit of everyone, not just you.

  2. Pedanto, The Hilarity Man

    Sheridanputsitcrassly, but there is a serious point there. Theatre is a minority activity, and it shouldn’t be funded indefinitely by people who aren’t interested and could use the money.

    I would be sorry to see the Focus disappear, but they need to have a business plan which doesn’t depend on permanent subsidies from the state. Theatres should reach out and find an audience. It’s great if the state can support them while they do this, but paying them forever encourages timidity and inwardness.

    1. jrh

      I’m pretty sure the world you’re describing would result in endless productions of CATS with the cats replaced by dancing bottles of Coca Cola (TM)

      1. Pedanto, The Hilarity Man

        I’m pretty sure the world you’re happy with resulted in a complete lack of political theatre in Ireland when it might have done some good. Art that depends on government money gets timid.

        Your depiction of popular taste is exactly the kind of elitism that makes people wary of art theatre, but the Coke gag is a good one. I’m sure theatre people would feel pressure to conform to private patrons, and might emasculate their work as a result.

        What do you think the magical difference is with government patronage?

  3. AidanH

    Famous members of the Stanislavski Studio and the Focus Theatre Company include Paul Bennett, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Campion, Sean Campion, Ger Carey, Guy Carlton, Órlaith De Burca, Phil Doherty, Stephanie Dunne, Hazel Dunphy, Olwen Fouere, Alan Gilsenan, Tristan Gribbin, Liam Halligan, Ken Harmon, Luke Hayden, Brent Hearne, Tom Hickey, Eamon Hunt, Paul Keeley, Robbie McDowell, Tim McDonnell, Niamh Mahon, Michelle Manahan, Elizabeth Moynihan, Mary Moynihan, Bairbre Ní Chaoimh, Síle Nugent, Kevin O’Brien, Ann O’Driscoll, Donal O’Kelly, Paul Roe, Ann Russell-Wheatley, Mary Jude Ryan, Jayne Snow, Paul Raynor, Margaret Toomey, Carmel White, and Etáin Winder.

    1. patsy

      Ah Eamonn ye silly oul’ fool.

      Sure Slaphead made the same oul’ gag 25 minutes earlier and two bleedin’ posts above ye. Keep up. Ye’ll never get yer Grade 1 Troll badge that way!

  4. Cathal Dunne

    Can Bord Gáis not sponsor this theatre instead? Keep it open and return the Grand Canal Theatre to its rightful monicker.

  5. I Really should be Working

    Art for Art’s sake has always been the case in Ireland, especially with the Abbey! It is indeed a sad day but the location is not the theater, the company and the minds behind it are the theater.

    Hopefully the will find a new location and continue in a slimmer format.

  6. Phil Is Thine

    Thing is, the Abbey gets buckets and buckets of your cash and even the Gate, a supposedly commercially-run theatre, gets a big bunch of taxpayers’ lolly. The measly few quid the Focus doesn’t get anymore, on the other hand, wouldn’t even pay half the salary of one of the artistic directors or either. Is heritage important? If not, then who cares. If it is, then it is a shame. Since when was any cultural institution run on the basis of a business plan that makes any sense? Professional football for example.

        1. Pedanto, The Hilarity Man

          They should certainly be subject to the same criteria as the Focus. If the Gate can’t pay its way by now, what exactly is it for? If the national theatre can’t build a national audience, then it isn’t working.

  7. shanksmare

    since the greeks the arts have required subsidy and patronage. Theatre of all the art forms is labour intensive and requires a collective act. Therefore it is costly. Sadly if you knock you gutts out to keep a comapny like the Focus going through two recessions, the legacy is not acknowledged by the state.
    the Abbey get a large slice of the pie for sho but still low compared other national theatres.
    It isn’t a straightforward equation two hospital beds = one theatre production. more that a healthy demoracy cares for it’s citizens corporal and aesthetic well being and you cant beat the collective experience of live performance. i wish the Focus good luck wherever they go.

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