Tuesday 11 August 2009

Irish Opera's Proposed Merger

The Stage reports that the Arts Council is proposing to merge three Irish Opera companies - Wexford Festival Opera, Dublin-based Opera Ireland and the Opera Theatre Company (OTC) - into a single national company from 2011.

It's suggested that the merged opera companies will be based from the Wexford Opera House.

Opera Ireland, which confirmed it is considering the reform plan, acknowledged the need to find "an agreed way forward for the art form through the difficult financial climate in which we all find ourselves." But according to sources close to the discussions, there are members in all three companies who are less than happy with what is being proposed.

Under the shake-up plan, the functions of the three existing companies would be incorporated into the new national one, though staff would not automatically transfer. This, in turn, could lead to contracts having to be bought out and to redundancy payments, all of which could prove costly for the cash-strapped Arts Council.

Despite the potential difficulties, the council is optimistic the reform plan will get the go-ahead. It hopes to be able to reduce the level of grants to the three companies next year as they wind down and the new national company, with a name that "reflects its all-Ireland role and remit", gets ready to open for business.

No comments: