Theatre and pantomime society at ‘loggerheads’

COST and a difference of opinion between the Letterkenny Pantomime Society and An Grianan Theatre were raised as a matter of urgency by Cllr Kevin Bradley at Tuesday’s Letterkenny /Milford MD meeting.
Cllr Bradley had put forward a motion calling on the council to engage with both parties “to resolve the current issues and look forward to working together in 2024”.
“They have been looking at running the pantomime in the theatre but the process has been rough and they are at loggerheads with each other. The last one was in the Aura Centre and that is not the correct place for it.
“If we let it run into another year it will be gone and there is a wealth of knowledge among the society that you could not pay for. The theatre is ours – the tax payer.
“Can the theatre afford to let things like this go, with full audiences. The pantomime are not making money out of this. People are putting their own time into it,” Cllr Bradley told the meeting adding that Manager of the Theatre Patricia McBride was “doing a fantastic job”.
Cllr Ciaran Brogan seconded the motion saying it was very important it is brought back into the heart of the community.
“The pantomime is one of the greatest community events we support. The theatre is a community facility founded from our budget.
“We are open for business and want to engage with schools and communities.
“Someone, somewhere has dropped the ball,” Cllr Brogan said.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle who is chair of the theatre board of management said the pantomime society was “cherished by the theatre and we want to have them back again.
“The pantomime group were charged €500 less than other groups. This changed and went to €600 then €700 on a par with other groups.
“Then in 2019 they decided to use the Aura Centre. In 2020 we approached the society again.
“We have not resolved this issue so far but the theatre are willing to sit down and talk to everyone. Come and talk to us. It is not about overcharging. We are willing to work with them. The theatre is the place for the pantomime society and it must be done with parity with all other groups,” Cllr McMonagle said.
Cllr Bradley suggested that the theatre give the pantomime a free year to try and get it sorted.
“We should be giving them the bloody place,” he added.
Cllr Brogan said he believed there was a willingness in the meeting to get it sorted.”

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