‘This Is Not A Glitch’


Arts Minister Heather Humphreys

Further to the allegations made against former artistic director of The Gate theatre in Dublin, Michael Colgan…

And further to the announcement by Arts Minister Heather Humphreys that she has invited eight leaders from Irish theatre organisation to meet her and the Arts Council next week…

To discuss ways in which the Arts Department and Arts Council can create a “safe culture and environment” for those working in theatre…

John O’Brien writes on Facebook:

So just a few thoughts. Its been said many times over the last few weeks that one of the principal (but not the only) causes of the abuse and harrassment was “unaccountable power”.

So what does the Minister go and do? Invite eight “leaders” from Irish theatre organisations. I’m sure they’re all fine people, but how accountable is their power.

And why only theatre? And surely, surely if you are serious about “listening” and “hearing” then the people you should be convening are those on the receiving end of the behaviour – they are the ones who understand it, they are the ones who know how it can be contained, and they are the ones who know what has to change.

And if you think that decisions can be made for these people as opposed to by these people then you are a part of the problem.

As someone remarked about the Paradise Papers recently, this is not a glitch in the system, this IS the system. The actions of the Department with its workshops on governance is the classic tinkering with the system approach so beloved of our politicians.

Everything is absolutely fine we just need to iron out a few problems.

No. Unaccounability, abuse of power, bullying, harrassment and fear are the system. (And not just the arts, but accross all sectors of this country – including politics)

Remember that – as Annette Clancy pointed out to me – if this group of “leaders” was convened three months ago Michael Colgan would have been on it.

Previously: “I Knew It Was Likely I Was Never Going To Work In The Gate Again”

John O’Brien (Facebook)

Humphreys announces measures tackling harassment (RTE)

H/T: Annette Clancy

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13 thoughts on “‘This Is Not A Glitch’

  1. Frilly Keane

    ah here lads

    the Artie crowd don’t own exclusive rights this issue or any other many matters now streaming into daylight

    just cause ye get grant aid and tax relief and semi-state protectionism doesn’t make ye anymore qualified or more exposed to misogyny, sexist discrimination, abuse and or bullying

    stop making it all about ye
    for once
    get off the stage
    or else at least shove up and let all the other work place environments a bitta room

    1. Basil Brush

      Well said Frilly. I have thought about this very point and little else since the Weinstein story broke. The stories emerging from the global Arts communities are extreme and certainly not isolated to their industry. However, it seems the avalanche of stories arriving daily have been predominantly from the Creative Communities…which made me think that the ‘casting couch’ approach was not only alive and well but expected. I dipped my toe in the ‘Creative environment’ when i was young and saw it for myself, first hand. I gave up on all that and moved into something much less colourful…however the move suited me and I felt ‘protected’…with a steady paycheck, a somewhat clear career path and, most importantly…a HR dept. I have met mysogynists, racists, and those who were happy to use their positions to exert pressure on young and impressionable colleagues. However, what I have witnessed/experienced in business is nothing compared to what I witnessed as a young creative. I greatly admire those ‘left side brains’, it can be extremely difficult to exist as an artist etc, and I’m astounded that the Weinstein backlash has snowballed to this extent. I genuinly thought it would be a tornado in a teacup…then disappear. I just hope it continues and their industries take this opportunity to clean themselves up.

  2. Eamonn Clancy

    The artistic director of Rough Magic has been in control for almost 30 years, in Druid it’s been over 20 years. Both are women and both have had allegations of bullying laid against them too. Hash tag that.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?


      That was a fuppingly stupid thing to have done but I couldn’t give up once I’d started.

  3. Liam Deliverance

    No a fan of Humphreys but to be fair if this happens next week it is a prompt action to look into the issue and also this meeting with the Theater 8 might just be the first step in the process. Maybe meeting with staff is part of that process.

  4. Ben Redmond

    The real drama is played out in the vaults of offshore accounts for tax avoiding Irish businessmen.

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