Uachtaráin na hÉireann Michael D Higgins has led the tributes being paid to Mike Diskin, describing him as a “dear friend” whose death was a “huge loss to all those who worked in the arts, culture, theatre and performance on this island”.
“He brought the Town Hall and the Black Box theatres in Galway to the forefront of performance, making them among the most used venues in the country,” said President Higgins. “Above all he will be remembered by individual artists, especially new entrants to the fields of theatre, performance and visual arts, for his ongoing support.”
The Mayor of Galway Hildegarde Naughton has also expresed her sympathies to Mr Diskin’s family.
“Michael was a leading figure in the arts world in Galway and was known for encouraging and mentoring many artists over the years,” she said. “He was passionate about his role as manager of the Town Hall Theatre and his passing will be greatly missed.”
Garry Hynes, the artistic director of Druid Theatre Company, called Mr Diskin a “tremendous force in the arts in Galway”.
“It was a privilege to work with him down through the years and he has made the Town Hall Theatre a second home, not only for Druid, but for so many,” she said. “His passion and enthusiasm for the arts, and for supporting and mentoring artists, knew no bounds.
“Mike has inspired us all in the way he bore his illness with such dignity and courage while he continued to plan and manage future projects for the Town Hall. On behalf of everyone at Druid we extend our deepest sympathies to Evelyne, Chloe, Seamus, and Dermot and to all the staff at the Town Hall Theatre. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.”
Pat Moylan, chair of the Arts Council has paid tribute to the late Town Hall Theatre manager.
“Michael Diskin brought a formidable intellect and an exceptional breadth of knowledge to bear on his work as a key arts administrator,” she said. “He will be sorely missed. We offer our condolences to his wife and daughter.”
Nashville musician and acclaimed record producer Jim Rooney and his wife, the dancer and choreographer Carol Langstaff spoke affectionately about Mike as a man “with an instinct for those with creative talent and who had the ability to pull it off”.
“As a newcomer to Galway 131 years ago Mike supported my desire to create the Flock Dance Company as a way to organise the Galway community to create several large-scale dance works,” recalled Ms Langstaff. “After our very first show there was Mike with tears in his eyes telling me that he had just witnessed community theatre at its best - all because he believed in the work.
“I was not the only one who was on the receiving end of Mike’s support and encouragement. Little John Nee and countless other can testify to that. Mike wanted the Town Hall to be open to Galway artists and performers. He gave us a space to create. He was a Galway man. His encouragement, his taste, his love of the people who created and his passion to make it happen will be remembered - a beacon still shining.”