THEATRE57, a newly formed collective of independent theatre artists in Galway city and county, including Little John Nee, Fregoli’s Maria Tivnan, Aindrias DeStaic, Sarah O’Toole, and Moonfish’s Mairéad Ní Chroinín, will be officially launched this month.
The group came together to address "the challenges and the benefits" of making work as independent artists in Galway. "Despite its reputation as Ireland’s cultural capital, the reality for artists on the ground in Galway is difficult and completely unsustainable," says Róisín Stack, one of Theatre57’s founders. "There is no designated space to develop work like there is in Cork, Limerick, and Dublin. There is no facility for meetings, hot-desk space, or anything of that nature."
Ms Stack said the reality is that "theatre in Galway is made against the odds" and that there is "very little acknowledgement" of how much independent artists contribute locally. "It is time to rectify that and create a legacy we can be proud of," she said.
In the seven months since the collective's first meeting, Theatre57 has conducted surveys to investigate the requirements and socio-economic conditions of its members, met with local arts officers, carried out case studies of European collectives, and represented the organisation at Creative Europe’s December conference and Theatre Forum’s Payscale.
In 2019, Theatre57 will roll out a range of actions including continued representation of local theatre artists at national conferences and events, speaking to politicians about the conditions facing artists, linking in with European organisations and networks, investigating funding options to create new opportunities for creative action, and rolling out a pilot programme in conjunction with Electric. According to Theatre57's Féilim O’hAoláin, that programme will include monthly cabarets, live cinema, music, one-person shows, and new formats for theatre-makers to share ideas and present work.
Theatre 57 will be launched upstairs at Electric, Abbeygate Street, on Monday January 21 at 7pm. All are welcome to attend.