Triskel celebrates three years in Christchurch

Celebrating three years since Christchurch was opened as part of the Triskel’s expansion and reinvention, a number of free events will take place at the Cork venue on May 22.

Triskel celebrates three years in Christchurch

Two films by British director Joanna Hogg will be screened at Triskel Christchurch’s state-of-the-art digital cinema — Unrelated and Archipelago. There will also be a tour around Triskel Christchurch given by heritage curator David Ryan.

The site of the building can be traced back to the Viking settlement in Cork in the 900s. The tour takes in the history of the church, graveyard and the crypt. At the Black Mariah gallery at the venue, a group exhibition will feature work by Doireann O’Malley, Helen Horgan and Emma Haugh.

Artistic director of Triskel Christchurch since 2006, Tony Sheehan, says the venue has been transformed.

“We went from being a small arts centre in a converted warehouse with one small gallery to a complex that encapsulates a beautiful signature concert hall which seats 300 people. As well as the cinema, the centre now has two galleries. We also have Plug’d, an independent record store and Gulp’d cafe which promotes music and literary events. There is also the TDC (Theatre Development Centre) run by Corcadorca.”

Sheehan says that since the revamped arts centre re-opened in 2011, its operation has been characterised by its adaptability.

“There has been a terminal decline in public funding for the arts. We went from a situation in 2009 of being funded to the tune of 80% by the Arts Council and City Council. When we re-opened in May 2011, 55% of our operations were funded. Last year, just 39% of our operations were funded. We have had to earn the rest of the money, which made us completely rethink how an arts centre runs.”

Sheehan says Triskel Christchurch’s accounts for 2013 record a break-even position with a small surplus.

“This is probably a first in the history of Triskel. We make money from our programme, from putting on concerts and cinema events. We also hire the venue now and then and we make money from civil marriage ceremonies.”

The turnover for the centre last year was €578,000. In 2013, 120,000 people passed through the doors, 48,000 of whom bought tickets for events. “There’s no comparison to previous years. When I took up my job in 2006, there was nobody coming in here. It’s a busy place now. It’s important to listen to people and to reinvent.”

People complain about how uncomfortable the seating is in Triskel Christchurch, but it is going to be reupholstered in the coming months. Sheehan says the new seating will be a gift to its patrons.

Local, national and international artists exhibit at Triskel Christchurch. “We don’t differentiate between these groups, but we are mindful of the fact that local artists need to exhibit in the city,” says Sheehan.

Triskel Christchurch is enjoying a whole new lease of life, despite the economic climate.

* www.triskelartscentre.ie.

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