Pat Laffan – A tribute

Irish actor and director Pat Laffan, has sadly “shuffled off this mortal coil” after an incredible career spanning six decades. He grew up on a farm in Co. Meath and, after graduating from Engineering in UCD began his career in the Abbey Theatre, despite his mother, allegedly, begging Ernest Blythe to sack him!

Pat became a prolific theatre actor and was the Director of the Peacock Theatre in the 1970s. On leaving the Abbey he directed in the Gate Theatre until 1982 and later joined the board of the Gaiety School of Acting.

I had the privilege of sharing a dressing with him at the Gate, and “survived” the long run. Pat didn’t suffer fools gladly or otherwise, but there was always a mischievous twinkle in the eyes and, if he liked you, you were a friend for life. My lasting memory is his performance as Brendan Bracken on radio. I was lucky enough to play Churchill opposite him and his generosity as an actor was enormous.

While Pat is perhaps still best remembered as Mr. Burgess in The Snapper he had 70 film and television credits to his name and was at home in comic or dramatic roles with equal aplomb. He has, quite rightly, been described as an incredible force in Irish Theatre. He was also an incredible force on the cricket field and not always with bat and ball – more intimidating was his ferocious glare at erring umpires and wayward bowlers. His Presidency of the Theatrical Cavaliers Cricket team was legendary.

A valued and supportive member of Irish Actors Equity, he will be sorely missed in every walk of life, over which he loomed large, passing on his expertise to the benefit of other generations of actors. The whole of the acting profession is indebted to Pat’s dedication, multi-talents, wit and pure professionalism.

Laurence Foster, March 2019

Austin Gaffney – A Tribute

The wonderful Austin Gaffney, pictured above in the banner was from a performance of “Song of Norway”, with my wife Pauline (Magrath) in 1966. No one but Austin could enter a scene with such a swirl of an operatic cloak, or doff a silk top-hat with such panache.

Born in Dublin, for decades, he was the star of so many Light Operas, Pantomimes, Cabarets, Reviews, Television Shows and Recordings, often with some of the biggest orchestras and bands in Britain and Ireland. His performance as The Red Shadow in, ”The Desert Song”, surpassed all others; his voice superb, his acting superb. From “Die Fledermaus” to “The Merry Widow”, Austin reigned supreme.

Austin was also an original member of and, a staunch supporter of the Variety Artist’s Section of Irish Actors Equity, helping to raise the standard of that Branch for many years.

He was generous, unselfish and a pleasure to work with and, his path to stardom was a tough one. Following twice-daily performances in the Gaiety Theatre, at the drop of the evening curtain, he would be off to perform in Jury’s Cabaret in Dame Street until midnight. Weekends, and free days were spent enjoying the coaching of the next generation of Irish singers.

Austin was part of, what was, a great theatrical ‘family’ of colleagues that embraced so-called ‘legits’, and ‘non legits’, with equal camaraderie from the post-war years onward. His soubriquet, “The Gaffer”, created with true Dublinese affection, was apt indeed. He was greatly missed when he retired and he will be even more greatly missed now, as a valued colleague to so many. What a voice, what a star, what a friend to all!

Laurence Foster. February 15th 2019.

Banner photo: Copyright Pauline Magrath (Foster)

Applying for the 2018 Co-operation Projects Call?

10am-3pm Thursday 18th October 2018
Europe House, 12-14 Mount Street Lower, D2
Sign up: E-mail your name, organisation and brief project details to cedculture@artscouncil.ie.

Are you developing an application for the next Co-operation Projects deadline in 2018? We will host a free application workshop in Dublin on Thursday 18th October for organisations that are developing proposals for Co-operation Projects in 2018.

Get some insights into what you need to demonstrate in your proposal for a successful application!
Learn about the red flag items that can trip applicants up!

Hear tips from previously successful applicants.
Bring along all your niggling questions on the application process, application form and budgets.

We will also have a general introduction to Co-operation Projects funding to begin the session. If you are not planning an application for this year’s deadline but would like to learn more please do come for coffee and the introductory session.

We are also holding an Information session and Workshop in Waterford on 8th October.

Can’t attend our workshops in Dublin or Waterford? Phone us on 01 6180200 for information and advice or email your questions to cedculture@artscouncil.ie. We’re here to help, right up to the time that you press that submit button, so do keep in touch!

To register your interest in attending please email cedculture@artscouncil.ie.

Creative Europe Funding Workshop

· Mon 8 October 2018 | 10:00 – 13:00
· Garter Lane Arts Centre, 5 O’Connell Street, Waterford
· FREE TICKETS ON EVENTBRITE HERE

Our free workshop will be an interactive session for arts, culture, heritage, craft and design organisations to explore ideas for developing transnational working practices and to learn about accessing Creative Europe funding.

The session will begin with an overview of the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme and in particular the Co-operation projects fund by Audrey Keane of the Creative Europe Desk Ireland’s Culture office.

Round table discussions: This will be followed by round table discussions exploring the different aspects of developing and running a European project. Hear from Creative Europe beneficiaries including Chris Clarke, The Glucksman Gallery (VIBE project) and Edel Doran, First Fortnight Festival (NEFELE project) and Katherine Collins, Waterford Walls who will share their experiences.

This will be an opportunity to learn from the experience of those already involved in projects and to test your own ideas for a project. Delegates are invited to stay on for a networking lunch with more opportunities to share learning and ideas.

This event is organised by Waterford Europe Direct Information Centre in partnership with Creative Europe Desk Ireland (Culture Office), Waterford Cultural Quarter and the Waterford Area Partnership.

APPLY VIA EVENTBIRE FOR YOUR TICKET HERE

Have your say: Has Dublin become too expensive for artists to live here?

Musician David Kitt says he was being forced to leave because he can’t afford it anymore

Musician David Kitt is quitting Ireland, claiming it is too expensive to live in the country anymore. Kitt says he has no choice given that the Dublin house in which he lives is being sold as part of a portfolio to a consortium of European investors. “I do think it is sad that so many creative/artistic/bright people are being forced to leave this city and the country in general.” He blamed Fine Gael who he said are “failing this city and its people massively. And Dublin’s heart and soul is being ripped out and sold to the highest bidder.”

The Irish Times would like to hear from readers on the issue. Do you think Dublin and other cities and towns around Ireland have become too expensive for artists, musicians and other creatives to live and work? Is the cultural vibrancy of the city being lost as a result? If you are working in a creative industry, have you had to leave Dublin, or Ireland, to make a living? Or are you, like Kitt, planning to leave? How would you fix the problem? Are there examples of better functioning systems where you live now that could be adopted by Ireland?

You can contribute (max 300 words) using this form. Please include a few lines about yourself – where you are from originally, when you emigrated and why, where you live now and what you do there – and attach a photograph if you have one.

A selection of responses may be published in the Irish Times, or passed to a journalist who may wish to contact you for more information.

The End of the Beginning of Equality for Women in Irish Theatre

On July 9th, Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD launched Gender Equality in Practice in Irish Theatre at the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin.

The gender equality policies of 10 theatre companies have been crafted to encompass the individual workings and requirements of the ten organisations and to acknowledge that it is vital that women’s voices are allowed are heard on stage, across the cultural sector and across society as a whole. This is a joint promise to address and rebalance the gender equality deficiencies within Irish theatre and the documents launched today include the following policy commitments;

  1. Gender blind readings for plays
  2. Unconscious bias training for all staff
  3. Achieve equality of gender of board members
  4. 50% of a new play commissions to be allocated to women writers
  5. Gender blind casting
  6. Addition of Dignity at Work clauses to employees charter
  7. Re-examination of the female canon 
  8. Work with third level institution to encourage gender parity in areas that do not reflect equality of gender.
  9. To achieve gender balance in programming within a 5 year period.

This work is the culmination of the process that started with the Waking the Feminists movement in 2015. The 10 organisations involved in this sectoral collaboration are The Abbey Theatre, Cork Midsummer Festival, The Corn Exchange, Druid Theatre, The Everyman, Dublin Theatre Festival, Fishamble: The New Play Company, The Gate Theatre, The Lir Academy, Rough Magic Theatre Company. Information on the policies can be found on the individual company websites or at http://www.wakingthefeminists.org/

Congress Global Solidarity Committee Expresses ‘Abhorrence at Massacre of Palestinian Civilians

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has expressed its abhorrence of the massacre of innocent Palestinian protestors in Gaza today (May 14).

Speaking on behalf of the Congress Global Solidarity Committee, David Joyce said: “Our thoughts are with the dead and injured and their families. Up to 52 people were killed, according to numbers from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, including five children under 18 years of age.

“They were murdered by Israeli forces as they protested the opening of the United States’ embassy in Jerusalem.“In addition almost 2000 people were injured – more than 900 of those with live ammunition. This is a shameless violation of international law and the Israeli authorities show no signs that they intend to rein in such excessive force.

“Today’s shootings are a continuation of killings that have taken place since the Great Return March started on March 30, with more than 100 Palestinians now dead & over 13,000 wounded by Israeli occupation forces,” Mr Joyce said.

He called on the Irish Government to strongly condemn the Israeli actions and lead the way in both the EU and the UN, in calling for an independent investigation and to hold the Israeli Government to account.

“The fact that today’s events occurred with the eyes of the world on Jerusalem shows the contempt that Israel has for the international community and the impunity with which it violates international law.

“The Congress Global Solidarity Committee demands that today’s events must also lead to renewed international pressure on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“The suggestion that Ireland should follow the example of the US and move its embassy to Jerusalem should also be treated with the contempt it deserves.

“Today’s events show the need for more action by Ireland in its own right and Congress now calls on all political parties in the Oireachtas to support the urgent passing of Senator Frances Black’s Occupied Territories Bill,” Mr Joyce concluded.

2018 Irish Equity AGM

NOTICE FOR MEMBERS: The 2018 Irish Equity AGM will take place in Liberty Theatre, Liberty Hall, Dublin on Sunday March 25th doors open at 2.00 p.m. There will be a speaker on Bullying & Harassment in the Arts.

Gonna Let Nobody Turn me Around

Check out this video from the Resistance Choir in support of the national demonstration calling for an end to #housingcrisis.
Join us on #April7th
1pm Parnell Square – #LetOrganise

Actor/Director ‘Speed Dating’ evening

The Equity Executive in conjunction with The Screen Directors Guild of Ireland, held an Actor/Director ‘Speed Dating’ evening on Thursday, 1st February in the Liberty Hall Theatre. What a perfect way to build your network in the acting world • Join Irish Equity!