Sunday 17 December 2017

Wexford Festival Opera gets €1.42m from Arts Council, but will only receive 75 of that amount

By David Tucker

Marie Lenormand and Marie Éve Munger in Le Pré aux clercs at the National Opera House during last year's Wexford Festival Opera.
Marie Lenormand and Marie Éve Munger in Le Pré aux clercs at the National Opera House during last year's Wexford Festival Opera.

Wexford Opera Festival is ringing in the new year with funding of more than €1.43 million, but it will only receive 75 per cent of that.

The Arts Council has awarded funding of €1.42 million while Failte Ireland announced an €110,000 award, 'to help the festival grow'.

According to the Arts Council, which also awarded €145,000 to Wexford Arts Centre, the investment strategy ensures that people in every part of the country will continue to experience the best of the arts over the next 12 months. This year the Arts Council chose to specifically focus increases to independent artists through bursaries and projects.

David McLoughlin, Wexford Festival Opera's chief executive, said that while the overall funding from the arts council was €1.42 million, the festival would only receive 75 per cent of that amount because the allocation is worked out on a nine-month basis.

'Having said that we're very pleased they have maintained their level of support for the Festival and we are particularly pleased that Failte Ireland has increased its level of funding from €100,000 to €110,000,' said Mr McLoughlin.

He said the amount being given to the Festival reflected its significant contribution to the local and national economy and increasing levels of cultural tourism.

Not surprisingly, the Festival will be looking for more funding from corporate and individual sponsors and Mr McLoughlin said a broad range of attractive and interesting projects were in the pipeline.

He said the nine-month funding issue had been flagged in advance and the Festival was currently working though its implications from a budgeting point of view.

'We are very grateful for the funding and are very conscious of this very large level of funding coming to the Festival,' he said.

Organisations in literature, music, dance, visual arts, theatre, street art, circus, spectacle, opera, film, architecture and the traditional arts as well as through special areas of arts practice such as arts participation and young people, children and arts education received either standstill or increased funding.'

Arts Council chairwoman Sheila Pratschke said: 'The Arts Council has a new strategy focused on the artist and pubic engagement - our grant from government in 2016 will enable us to begin to deliver on this strategy, investing public resources strategically to ensure more high quality art for the people of Ireland.'

Minister Paul Kehoe welcomed the announcement of the funding and that by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, as part of Fáilte Ireland's national funding of just over €1.8 million for 23 key national festivals and events.

The Failte Ireland is funding for Wexford is the third highest awarded in the country after the St Patricks Festival got €1 million and the Dublin Horse Show, an award OF €125,000.

'Wexford Festival Opera is a hugely popular event in Wexford and further afield. This event has grown in recent years and is attracting more and more tourists to the area,' said the Minister.

Running since 1951, Wexford Festival Opera has an international reputation for excellence with a superb national and international reputation. Its unique focus is the production of rarely performed and neglected opera performed by the best emerging talent with headline operas in the National Opera House .

Wexford People

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