By Joe Barrett
Despite a drop in revenue from over €400,000 in 2019 to €91,000 in March 2020, The Laois Arts Theatre Company who oversee the Dunamaise Art Centre in Portlaoise is considered to be a medium risk financially to Laois County Council.
The centre, which is located at Church Street just off Main Street, was established in 1998 to provide facilities and opportunities for the organisation of artistic and cultural events as well as holding performances, exhibitions and workshops.
In his monthly report to councillors at their March meeting, the Chief Executive John Mulholland said that in 2019 the Dunamaise Arts Centre sold over 33,000 tickets to 741 events/performances with gross sales of €400,500. In 2020 it sold over 9,000 to 225 events with gross sales of €101,000.
However he said that up to the 13 March 2020 closure there were sales of 7,650 tickets to 107 events with gross sales of €90,950 and a small number of events under Level 2 restrictions in September, the remainder online throughout the year.
He told the meeting that “many of the staff are on temporary lay-off since the end of March 2020 and the remaining core staff are in receipt of the Employment Wage SubsidyScheme and working remotely for the most part.
He said when the arts centre was opened in September under level 2 guidelines the auditorium had a reduced capacity of less than 50 audience members.
He said that when Covid restrictions are eased the 240 capacity seating may have to be reduced again.
Mr Mulholland said that financial out-turns in recent years “have hovered around break-even” on the revenue account.
He went on to deem the “immediate risk assessment for the venue,” to be medium.