Druid’s box office success boosts profits

The huge box office success of John B Keane’s Big Maggie was one of the factors behind theatre company Druid recording a turnaround in its fortunes last year.

Figures for 2011 show that the Galway-based company recorded a profit of almost €200,000. This compared to a loss of over €250,000 in 2010.

“In the challenging conditions of a continued deterioration in our Arts Council funding we are glad that we performed well enough at the box office and were able to raise sufficient funding from other sources, including Culture Ireland, to make good on our commitment to produce the huge international theatre project, DruidMurphy, in 2012,” a spokesperson for Druid said.

Another highlight was the acclaim for DruidMurphy from audiences and critics in Ireland, London, New York, and Washington.

Druid was co-founded by artistic director Garry Hynes, along with Mick Lally, and Marie Mullen in 1975. The company has won 50 awards including four Tonys in the US.

Asked what the factors behind Druid recording a surplus in 2011 were, the spokesperson said: “The surplus was part of a financial strategy to deal with the deficit incurred in 2010 and place the company on a safe financial footing for the major project, Druid-Murphy, in 2012.”

They added that during 2011/12, Druid received a grant of €840,000 from the Arts Council, which was an accumulated 8% cut since 2009. “This represented 7% of the Arts Council’s overall spend on theatre,” they noted.

Asked how Druid performed from a financial viewpoint in 2012, they said: “Druid is not in the business of profit; it can only generate a surplus of income over expenditure.

“It is too early to say yet but, notwithstanding the scale and ambition of DruidMurphy, which performed throughout Ireland, England, and the US over an eight month period, at this point the company is not anticipating any significant deficit on its activities in 2012.”

Numbers directly employed by Druid last year remained static at 27, with the company’s staff costs rising from €1m to €1.1m.

Druid repaid €412,000 to the Government, last year in the form of taxes. This represented 49% of Druid’s Arts Council funding. A further €597,000 was paid to suppliers in Ireland.

On the company’s 2013 plans, the spokesperson said: “Druid will be presenting a national tour of Druid-Murphy in the spring. The production will start in Galway and visit Tralee, Dublin, Portlaoise, Ennis, Letterkenny, Longford, Dún Laoghaire, and Limerick over a period of almost three months.”


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