€1 million for the Opera House!
The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan announced a €1 million capital grant for the National Opera House before her arrival in Wexford last Friday to officially open the 67th Wexford Festival Opera.
The announcement came as the Opera House reached its 10th anniversary after opening in 2008 at a cost of €33 million on the site of the old Theatre Royal in High Street.
'I am conscious that we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the opening of this magnificent Opera House', said Minister Madigan.
'And while this auditorium looks as good as the day it opened, we are all aware that every house requires continued investment to keep it in shape'.
'So I am delighted to announce that my department will be investing €1 million in necessary updating and refurbishment works over the next three year's to protect the State's investment in this building and to ensure that the National Opera House continues to operate at the highest quality levels for many years to come'.
She described Wexford as a global leader in opera and a national example in the arts. 'The Government is deeply appreciative of this and is strongly supportive of the arts and Ireland's arts community', said Deputy Madigan who watched the town's annual fireworks display before attending the opening production of the L'Oracola' and 'Mala Vita' in the Opera House.
The Minister said An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had made a public commitment to double funding for culture and the arts by 2025.
'In Budget 2019, I was delighted to increase funding for arts and culture by over €22 million, which includes a funding increase by €6 million to €75 million for the Arts Council.'
Welcoming the financial announcement, the Chief Executive of Wexford Festival Opera David McLoughlin said the organisation is deeply grateful to the Minister and her Department for continuing and extending the Government's investment in this unique national cultural asset.
He said the funding will enable Wexford Festival to invest in the fabric of this 'highly sophisticated venue' and maintain the National Opera House at a world-class standard in keeping with its national status.
'This investment, in what is a crucial element of the nation's cultural infrastructure, will directly enhance the experience of the increasing numbers of audiences and artists who participate in multi-disciplinary performances in the venue year-round, said Mr. McLoughlin.
'The importance of the Festival, and its home, has been recognised by Government in the provision of funding provided for the construction of Wexford Opera House, now the National Opera House, on the site of the former Theatre Royal in the heart of Wexford town, where the Festival began 67 years ago'.