Cork Opera House on track with €250k profit

Cork Opera House has consolidated its financial recovery to record a €250,000 profit — its second profitable year in a row.

Cork Opera House on track with €250k profit

Figures presented to its 55th annual general meeting yesterday show that 150,000 people attended 357 performances, helping to return a healthy profit for the financial year ending March 2014.

It is another strong performance from the theatre which posted profits last year of €260,000 — its first profit in five years.

Last year signalled its emergence from a financial crisis which had it teetering on the brink of financial collapse in 2010, and which prompted an enforced summer closure.

Chairman of the board of directors, Damian Wallace, told the AGM yesterday he was delighted the strong financial performance of the previous year had been maintained this year.

Despite tough economic conditions and the “overhang of austerity measures”, he said the provision of a diverse programme, combined with the rigid management of operations, had helped deliver another profitable year.

It has enabled the Opera House to continue to meet its financial targets while at the same time further expand its artistic programme, he said.

“A key feature of the strong performance is the success of the in-house productions, namely the Christmas pantomime and the summer musical, and continuing to secure appealing titles and delivering the highest standards in theatrical production is a challenge the company will continue to rise to,” Mr Wallace said.

Opera House chief executive Mary Hickson paid tribute to director, Bryan Flynn, who died earlier this year. His smash-hit pantomimes and summer musicals, particular over the last two seasons, played a key role in the turnaround of the theatre’s fortunes.

“We are very proud of the quality and reaction to our summer musical Grease and our Christmas pantomime Aladdin, both directed by the late and wonderful Bryan Flynn,” she said.

“His creativity and energy will be greatly missed around the house and we will remember him and everything he taught us along our amazing journey together.”

Ms Hickson said while the theatre is delighted with the financial performance, achieving it had been very challenging.

“It has been a testing journey to get here. The nature of our business leaves us very dependent on the income generated in the box office, exposing us to a considerable amount of risk,” she said. “We would like to thank the people of Cork and beyond for continuing to support our programme in this regard.”

The ongoing support of key stakeholders, Cork City Council, the Arts Council and Cork County Council, has also been crucial, the AGM was told.

Mr Wallace praised the theatre’s senior management team, and singled out the staff, who took pay cuts during its financial crisis, for particular mention.

“They are professional, adaptable and willing to embrace change,” he said.

“They are the reason that the Opera House has achieved its goals over the last few years and they deserve great credit for their ongoing commitment.”

He also paid tribute to former councillor, Jim Corr, who recently retired from the board after almost 40 years’, but who remains on its audit committee.

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