Druid Theatre forced to drop major project for Galway 2020

Galway Daily news Mairead Ní Chroinín is the new Druid Artist in Residence at NUIG

The Druid Theatre has announced that it’s been forced to pull its planned, international production from the programme for Galway 2020.

The world renowned theatre company said that it was no longer able to go ahead with the production that it had planned due to “loss of time, significant budget cuts, and communication issues.”

Prior to this, The Druid had planned to stage a production entitled Middle Island, inspired by the novella and play by Colm Tóibín, Testament.

The story would have been about Mary’s life after the death of her son Jesus.

According to the Irish Times, the Druid Theatre has confirmed that it is not pulling out of Galway 2020 altogether.

Artistic Director Garry Hynes says that it intends to work with the organisation to fund a different, as yet unidentified project.

In a tweet this morning the theatre company repeated that it fully intends to continue participating in the Capital of Culture project.

Project in turmoil

Galway 2020 has been rocked by many issues since the departure of Creative Director Chris Baldwin in May, whose replacement still hasn’t been named.

CEO Hannah Kiely also resigned from Galway 2020 last month, and was replaced yesterday by Patricia Philbin, a senior executive with Galway city council.

There have been concerns about the project’s €46 million budget for some time, as Galway county council have said that they will only be able to supply €2 million, compared to the €6 million that was budgeted from them.

A group of some 20 other artistic groups including Macnas, Galway Film Fleadh, Bluteapot have expressed similar concerns as the Druid about their funding.

They are due to meet with the chief executives of Galway City and County councils this week to discuss their concerns.

Of the €46 million budget for Galway 2020 outlined in the bid book, the group fears that as little as half of that might be raised.

The Druid production

The collaboration with Corsica and the Welsh company Theatre Cymru would have involved a trip by sea to Inis Meain from Ros a Mhíl.

Druid actress Marie Mullen would have led a cast of ten professional actors and 20 members of the local community across the water in this flagship project.

Speaking at the opening of Richard III in the Abbey Theatre, Ms Hynes said Druid Theatre is committed to making sure Galway 2020 is a success.

She added that the company has been in touch with the Chairperson of Galway 2020 and are discussing their next move.

It’s understood that Druid Theatre had been working on Middle Island for two years before changes to their budget forced them to drop the project.