Curtain falls on Red Kettle due to funding cuts

Red Kettle actors presenting 'The Country Girls' at Cork Opera House in June 2012.
Red Kettle actors presenting 'The Country Girls' at Cork Opera House in June 2012.

The board of the Red Kettle Theatre Company in Waterford has blamed the combination of "severe cuts" to funding and six years of economic erosion for the closure of the award-winning body.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the 29-year-old company had gone into liquidation due to trading difficulties and a statement issued by the board yesterday said Red Kettle is no longer a viable enterprise.

The closure spells the loss of “several” full-time and part-time jobs, according to the board.

The statement said the move is “the cumulative effect of recent and severe cuts to funding and grant aid, set against a background of six years of economic erosion, with Waterford being especially hard hit”.

Arts Council funding to theatre groups such as Red Kettle has declined in recent years and the Waterford-based company’s funding went from €226,000 in 2008 to €145,595 last year.

Last year’s funding from the Arts Council paid for youth projects as well as a nationwide tour of Red Kettle’s last major play, Beyond the Blue Sky.

Among the company’s founders in 1985 was renowned playwright Jim Nolan, whose plays have gone on to national and international success. Their first production was his play The Gods are Angry, Miss Kerr, which was the first drama to sell out the Theatre Royal in Waterford for decades and sparked a wave of interest in the performing arts in the city.

The board said in its statement yesterday that the company was “much loved by the people of its native Waterford for nearly 30 years and was also a leading force in Irish theatre”.

“Red Kettle joins a growing list of arts organisations nationally which have been put out of business in recent years through ongoing economic challenges and cuts to their funding. The closing of this creative enterprise in Waterford will bring the loss of several full-time and part-time jobs.”

Red Kettle was “consistently and well-supported by a number of local bodies,” the board said, including the City Council and Waterford Youth Committee and also had the goodwill of the people of Waterford behind it. “But ultimately this was not enough to secure it. Consequently arrangements for the closure of Red Kettle have been initiated.”

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