from Selina Cartmell, Director & CEO, Gate Theatre
Thursday March 26, 2020
Our arts community has been devastated by events following the spread of COVID-19 worldwide. The Gate stands in solidarity with our theatre friends and colleagues as we try to contend with this new reality, both personally and professionally. We are all trying to forge the best way forward as we face the challenges ahead.
Following new Government guidelines, the Gate closed its doors temporarily on March 12 to protect the health of its audiences, creative teams and staff. This ended our performances of Our New Girl by Nancy Harris 10 days early. Last week we also announced the postponement of The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman, which was to run from March 26 – May 9 2020.
Now, following the latest government advice, we have taken the heartbreaking but necessary decision to postpone our forthcoming production of The Shadow of a Gunman by Sean O’Casey, scheduled from May 14 – July 11 2020.
The forthcoming programme for the rest of 2020 is under constant review, as we enter the uncharted territory surrounding the virus, and we’ll announce new developments as soon as we can. We empathise sincerely with all those affected.
Like so many of our fellow organisations, the realities of COVID-19 have compounded an already difficult financial position for us, with no spare resources to withstand an event such as this. As a not-for-profit charity, 65% of our income is through box office and 10% through development / fundraising. Our Arts Council funding, while vital, makes up 25% of our income.
If you have already booked tickets for any of the postponed performances our box office staff will be in touch with you directly. Please be patient as this may take some time. If you are in a position to donate your pre-paid tickets back to the Gate Theatre as a gesture of financial support, we would be hugely grateful. Another way to show us support at this time would be to purchase a Gate voucher to be used for any of our future shows. All your contributions will make a difference.
Our task at present is to try and navigate the organisation through the coming months without any box office income and we will be examining how best to harness Government support to lessen the blow on staff and freelance artists.
Great Theatre Will Prevail
Since the Gate opened almost a century ago, our ethos at the Gate hasn’t changed — to offer a different perspective on theatre, bound only by the limits of our imagination. We will need to rely on that imagination at these times as we metaphorically keep our lights on. As a team we are determined to not let this temporary closure dim our spirit. Our theatre is a vibrant hub in our capital’s creative culture and while the landscape may be bleak right now, we’re hopeful for a mutually supportive environment where we can partner with freelance artists, our local community and others in our sector to navigate our way through this situation together. Great theatre will prevail.
Launching the Power & Freedom season only 3 months ago, we couldn’t have imagined that we would find ourselves in this position such a short time later. But what those who make theatre have in abundance is determination, creativity, fighting spirit and perseverance. We will use all of these qualities to find the best way forward. We are examining a range of ideas to continue to directly engage artists and audiences in a meaningful way, to stay relevant as well as play our part in the national effort to overcome this crisis. In the words of Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…”