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CITY TRIBUNE

Town Hall set to welcome two millionth attendee

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The Town Hall Theatre is set to pass yet another major milestone with the venue about to welcome its two millionth attendee over the coming weeks.

This comes less than a year after the Town Hall celebrated its 20th anniversary. Playing host to an annual audience of around 100,000 people, the theatre has gone from strength to strength since it was officially re-opened in February 1996 by the then Minister for Arts, Michael D Higgins. According to theatre manager, Fergal McGrath, any punter that passes through the doors over the next couple of weeks could be the one that pushes them over the line.

“We’re guessing we’ll hit that figure in January and probably in the next fortnight we’ll pass the magic number – it could be you,” he exclaimed.

The Courthouse Square theatre incorporates the 400-seater main auditorium and a 52-seater studio space while also running the multi-purpose Black Box Theatre on the Dyke Road.

The venue held close to 500 different events last year and off the back of the ever successful Renmore Panto, which attracted a crowd of 7,500 over its run, Mr McGrath promised that 2017 would be another stellar year of theatre.

“In 2016 we presented close to 500 different events, performances and screenings – that is a very significant figure considering that the research shows that the average for peer venues is 204,” he said.

The average audience at aTown Hall show is over 170 people – a figure that well exceeds the national average of 115.

Mr McGrath believed that a huge part of the theatre’s success was the support of local people through their attendance and use of the facility.

“Outside of the festival, most of our business is local – in 2016, half of our customers were buying for the first time and that’s a huge number.

“If we sell between 85,000 and 100,000 tickets a year, and the population of Galway is just over 70,000, that highlights, number one the scale of the operation, number two the impact and number three that impact reflects the huge local support and participation,” said Mr McGrath.

He said that the Town Hall and Galway were blessed with a string of festivals across the year including Music for Galway’s Midwinter Festival, Prodigy, which kicks off this weekend.

Also on the way are the Subtitle European Film Festival, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, the Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Theatre Festival, Baboró and a Druid production lined up for September.

“We are really fortunate that we are playing host to festivals of that scale,” said Mr McGrath. “Galway Theatre Festival has been growing in recent years and Decadent is another local company directed by Andrew Flynn – there’s also a whole range of new and emerging talent.”

In 2017, The Town Hall will also be involved in ELEVATOR, a new initiative by the Irish Theatre Institute set up as a support system for emerging companies in Galway and Dublin.

“They will be given the opportunity to get regular advice and support,” said Mr McGrath. “We are always trying to nurture the next generation.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Whopping repayments for City Hall’s move

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Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath: Responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the Council suggested that senior management at City Hall did not meet with the owner of Crown Square in Mervue in the year before the loan approval for the purchase of the new offices there. If they did meet, no minutes exist.

The total cost to repay the loan required to execute Galway City Council’s planned purchase of new offices to accommodate a move from City Hall will be €63.1 million, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

It means the City Council will have to find €2m every year for 30 years in its own revenue budget to repay the mortgage, which could impact on the level of service it delivers to the public or may require an increase in charges or commercial rates.

Separately, a Council reply to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request suggests senior management at City Hall did not meet with the owner of Crown Square in Mervue in the year prior to the loan approval for the purchase of the new offices – and if they did meet, no minutes exist.

In its loan sanction application form, submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the City Council applied for permission to borrow €45.4 million.

This is to cover the bulk of the cost of the €56.5m total capital outlay associated with moving from City Hall and relocating all Galway City Council employees from College Road to the new Crown Square offices in Mervue.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hunt on for new courthouse to tackle explosion in cases

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Galway Courthouse: Limited facilities there make it difficult to clear lengthy Circuit Court lists.

The Courts Service is scouring the city for rental property to accommodate Galway Courthouse.

Commercial real estate advisors, Avison Young have been hired to source suitable property in the city centre.

The company published an advert in Galway City Tribune last week outlining the Courts Service’s property requirement of suitable commercial or office space of 1,800-2,000 metres squared.

Avison Young said the space should be in the city centre and be available to lease.

On-site parking is required, and it needs to be available for “immediate occupation”.

The move comes after the Galway City Tribune revealed earlier this month that victims of serious crime are waiting up to three years for justice because Galway’s limited court facilities make it difficult to clear lengthy Circuit Court lists.

Due to an explosion in the number of cases sent for trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, the wait for a trial date is between 24 and 36 months.

The Courts Service confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it was looking for a new courthouse and office space facilities.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Stars align as Teapots finally stage Into the Dark Woods

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Blue Teapot director Petal Pilley with cast members Michael Hayes and Valerie Egan ahead of the show.

Into the Dark Woods

Blue Teapot at the Black Box

REVIEW BY JUDY MURPHY

After several false dawns, Blue Teapot Theatre Company finally got to stage its long-awaited drama, Into the Dark Woods, in the city’s Black Box Theatre last week. A Galway 2020 commission, and written by company member Charlene Kelly, it was originally meant to be presented more than two years ago.

Blue Teapot is made up of actors with intellectual disabilities and Charlene is one of its best-known performers, but this marked her first foray into writing, supported by dramaturg Eileen Gibbons. The production, directed by the company’s Artistic Director Petal Pilley, has done her proud.

It’s a short, moving, sometimes humorous piece about two young people with intellectual disabilities from very different backgrounds, who get lost in the woods where they are confronted by various demons and monsters.

Jennifer Cox plays Sharon whose grandmother (Mary Monaghan-McHugh) has taught her to be independent and outward looking, while Kieran Coppinger is a prince who has been cocooned in a nearby castle by his father (Midie Corcoran), a king who feels his son isn’t capable of inheriting the throne.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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