‘Colgan knew he was out of line’

The woman who first spoke out against former Gate Theatre artistic director, Michael Colgan, says she is glad he is considering his past behaviour.

Writer, director, and producer, Grace Dyas, alleged that Mr Colgan had made inappropriate comments to her. Writing in the Sunday Independent, Mr Colgan blamed “misjudged behaviour” for upsetting some of his co-workers.

“I welcome that he has been considering his behaviour and I think, maybe, he needs to think a bit more about his behaviour,” Ms Dyas said, on TV3, yesterday.

“Mr Colgan says he was not aware of his behaviour. However, I believe he was made aware by several people in his own organisation, over the course of his tenure, that his behaviour was inappropriate.”

She alleged that Mr Colgan made comments of a sexual nature about her, in the Oak Bar, on Dame St, after the launch of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2016.

“I, myself, told him that it was inappropriate, on the night in question, in the Oak Bar. I said: ‘Michael, you can’t speak to me that way.’ Other people at the table also told him that what he was saying was wrong, inappropriate, and an abuse of his power in the situation that he was in.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Arts Council has described Mr Colgan’s apology as “curious”. “There is an apology on one side, and then, on the other, there is a defence of the behaviour and that he knew he was not politically correct,” said Ms McBride.

Mr Colgan wrote: “I already knew that I was not politically correct, that I often sacrificed proper conduct for a punchline, and that, at times, could be too exacting as a boss.

“But, realising that I have been responsible for causing distress to some of those with whom I worked so closely has shocked me, and I am truly sorry.”

Mr Colgan said his behaviour should not be equated with sexual crimes and that he is not guilty of more than misjudged behaviour.

Over the past few weeks, a number of women came forward with allegations about Mr Colgan’s conduct when he was director of the Gate Theatre.

Ms McBride, speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday, said she was glad the Gate Theatre had appointed Gaye Cunningham to conduct an independent review of the matter.

Ms Cunningham, an adjudication officer with the Workplace Relations Commission, has already begun her investigation and will report back ot the Board of the Gate in January.

“I think her impartiality and her independence is beyond any criticism. So trusting that process is what is important now,” said Ms McBride.

The Gate Theatre has stated that it is fully committed to taking the necessary steps to deal “professionally and compassionately” with all the issues.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, will meet theatre leaders this week to discuss how to create a safe culture.

Terry Prone: 10

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