Dublin Theatre Festival boosts profits with classics

A boom in ticket sales for works by Irish playwrights Brian Friel, Enda Walsh, and Conor McPherson contributed to the Dublin Theatre Festival last year recording a greater than threefold increase in profits to €107,626.

The capacity crowds that flocked to see Brian Friel’s celebrated Dancing at Lughnasa and McPherson’s The Night Alive, translated into bumper ticket revenues for the festival.

The total income generated by the festival topped €2m.

That sum included an Arts Council grant of €799,000.

The festival’s income increased by 8% from €1.87m to €2.02m, mainly driven by revenues from ticket sales which increased by a spectacular 45% from €478,782 to €695,332.

As a result, pre-tax profits increased by 239% going from €31,669 to €107,626.

According to the directors’ report attached to the accounts: “There was significant growth in sales in 2015 with an increase in attendance and earned income and the objective now is to sustain this growth and to increase the number and the diversity of the Dublin Theatre Festival audience.”

For last year’s festival programme, the theatre festival presented 29 productions, including 18 Irish productions, of which 10 were world premieres.

The festival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next year — is the world’s oldest theatre festival.

This year it plans to stage Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the 2,000-seat Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

The festival will also feature a newly-commissioned English translation of Don Giovanni by one of Ireland’s best-known writers, Roddy Doyle.

A significant proportion of the income for the festival comes from the Arts Council, whose grant funding last year of €799,000 represented an increase of €33,000 on the €766,000 received in 2014.

The festival also received other sponsorship, including non-cash items, totalling €219,095, while it obtained €101,500 from “funding agencies”.

The surplus last year of €107,626 helped the festival to further transform an accumulated loss of €49,234 into an accumulated profit of €58,392.

The festival achieved the surplus through the jump in ticket sales, while also controlling costs.

Total costs last year increased only marginally to €1.91m from the €1.868m spend in 2014. The festival firm’s cash pile last year more than doubled from €153,381 to €329,698.

Numbers employed by the festival increased by three to 24 staff. Staff costs increased from €424,273 to €449,388, with the CEO’s pay in the range of €70,000 to €80,000.


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