Slashing costs helps Abbey record €700,000 in profits

The Abbey Theatre last year swung back into strong profit after slashing costs by €2m.

Slashing costs helps Abbey record €700,000 in profits

New figures show that the theatre recorded a profit last year of €718,130 following a loss of €1.4m in 2012 — a positive swing of €2.12m.

The Abbey at the start of this year was budgeting to record a modest €42,000 loss for 2014.

However, after better than anticipated box office receipts helped by the likes of the sellout Our Few and Evil Days starring Love/Hate’s Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, the theatre is projecting to record a profit again this year.

Abbey Theatre financial director Declan Cantwell said yesterday: “It has been a great year for us, both from a box office and artistic point of view; 2014 has been very, very successful and the good news is that with the surpluses from last year and this year, we will be able to do more in the coming years.”

The Abbey’s return to profit comes against the background of hefty cuts to Arts Council funding, from €10m in 2008 to €5.8m in 2016.

Abbey Theatre director Fiach Mac Conghail said: “The Abbey Theatre, like all arts organisations, had to innovate in 2013 in order to weather severe funding cuts.”

He said: “To return to surplus in 2013 was a major achievement for us. Despite revenues being below levels for 2012, we managed to achieve a healthy surplus through managing costs very effectively. This resulted in costs for 2013 being €2m below 2012 levels.”

Mr Cantwell said that the overall financial state of the Abbey “is quite strong”.

The 2012 loss chiefly arose from an exceptional cost of €969,393 due to the closure of the Abbey’s pension scheme.

Last year, 100,015 people paid to see productions at the Abbey and Peacock, a figure which has already been surpassed this year, with 106,000 visiting and box office receipts passing €1m in April — the earliest recording of this figure since 2009.

The new accounts show that the theatre cut its production expenses by over €1.2m last year, from €5.22m to €4m, with touring costs reducing by 77%, from €480,214 to €109,003.

Revenues last year fell by 18%, from €4.23m to €3.45m, which included box office receipts decreasing from €2.3m to €1.9m and touring revenues down from €280,288 to €43,383.

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