A scene from a recent production at the Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon.
The Abbey Arts Centre in Ballyshannon is one of four projects in Donegal to share in €450,000 worth of grants from Minister for the Arts Heather Humphrey’s department.
The Donegal allocations are as follows:
· €215, 753 approved for Lifford project;
· €164,785 approved for the Abbey, Ballyshannon;
· €46,420 approved for An Grianan, Letterkenny;
· €27,962 for the County Museum.
The Minister will make the announcement as part of the Creative Ireland programme, with funding provided under her Department’s Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016-2018.
A total of 56 cultural organisations will benefit from this capital investment, including theatres, heritage centres, galleries, archives, integrated arts centres, artist studios and creative and performance spaces.
In Lifford approval of grant funding has been given to LATCH, Lifford, which runs the Old Courthouse project with a grant of €215,753 for a new lift and atrium stairwell.
The Abbey Arts and Cultural Centre has been given €164,785 for a series of works. These include monies to refurbish and upgrade the main theatre, theatres 2 and 3, reception area, the shop and kitchen areas and the green room; upgrade lighting, sound equipment, insulation, provide safe access over the stage and main auditorium, and purchase IT and projection equipment.
An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny is getting €46,420 for refurbishment and upgrade facilities to front of house and the auditorium.
And Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny has been awarded €27,962 to develop a multi-functional space, new furnishings and a technology update.
Minister Joe McHugh commented: “I wish to pay tribute to all those involved in the arts in Donegal. Over 85% of the funding is being provided to projects outside of Dublin. Putting arts and culture at the centre of rural life is a key element of the recently launched Action Plan for Rural Development.
“I would like to commend Minister Humphreys for prioritising investment in our regional arts and cultural facilities, and I look forward to work getting underway on projects in Donegal without delay.”
Cllr. Barry O'Neill - Deputy Chairperson of Donegal County Council has also welcomed the countywide funding for the cultural facilities but in particular for his hometown of Ballyshannon with the Abbey Arts Centre being granted €164,000 from Government.
Cllr. O'Neill said: "It’s fantastic news for the Abbey Arts Centre, for Ballyshannon but also for South Donegal as the facility was eight years ago designated as the Arts Centre for South Donegal.
“I must pay tribute to the Board of Management at the Abbey Arts Centre and its dedicated Manager for their continued commitment to the key arts facility in South Donegal.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the Lifford funding Cllr Martin Harley said: “This is a massive funding boost to the work of LATCH in Lifford where the Old Courthouse has been turned into one of Donegal’s Top Visitor Attractions. “I am very grateful to Ministers McHugh and Humphreys for this fantastic news.”
In Letterkenny Cllr. Jimmy Kavanagh said: “As a director of the An Grianán theatre management company, I have been working along with Minister McHugh to impress on Minister Humphreys the importance of this capital funding application to the continued success and future development of the theatre in Letterkenny.
“And I am absolutely delighted that the Minister has awarded this grant, that will help to ensure that An Grianán remains to the fore, in the provision and development of arts, drama and music in the county and North West.”
Cllr.Kavanagh said the grant to the county museum was very welcome. “This is the biggest funding grant in a decade to the arts and proof that this Government is fully committed to supporting history and culture in County Donegal.”
Other North West allocations
The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon and The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton also both received funding under the Arts and Culture Scheme 2016-2018. The Dock has been allocated €128,500, while Manorhamilton's The Glens received €50,000.
Cavan Town Hall Theatre and The Hawk’s Well Theatre in Sligo will receive €750,000 and €550,000 respectively.