Box office hits help Abbey return to profit

Rosaleen Linehan and Lorcan Cranitch in the Abbey's production of Joyce's 'The Dead'. Picture: Ros Kavanagh

Box offices successes including George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and Frank McGuiness’s dramatisation of The Dead by James Joyce at the Abbey Theatre are expected to contribute to the theatre producing a profit of €250,000 this year.

The national theatre returning to profit in 2013 follows two years of operating losses at the Abbey.

New accounts filed by Abbey Theatre Amharclann na Mainistreach with the Companies Office for 2012 show that the theatre company’s operating losses increased more than threefold to €1.4m last year.

The chief factor behind the operating loss was an exceptional cost of €969,393 relating to the Abbey closing down its pension scheme.

The figures show that before the exceptional pension cost is taken into account the Abbey recorded a loss of €434,161 in the 12 months to the end of December last.

The statements point out that the Abbey is on target to record a €251,000 surplus for 2013 and “the board believes that on the basis of the current plans and projected results the company is viable”.

News of the theatre returning to profit in 2013 coincides with the Arts Council confirming that it is seeking consultants to carry out an independent review of the operations of the Abbey.

The review is to include an examination of costs and staffing resources and according to the Arts Council “will identify if the theatre could be operated in a more efficient manner”.

The Abbey has received €7.1m from the Arts Council this year which brings to €21.3m what the theatre has received from the Arts Council over the past three years.


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