‘Be easy, October’
Musician Lisa O’Neill’s enjoinder ‘Be easy, October’ in the Abbey Theatre ‘s beguiling production of Patrick Kavanagh’s The Great Hunger at IMMA packs a particular resonance this year, of all years. The loss of Derek Mahon last week, another poetic giant, leaves an immense gap and makes for a sad start to the month.
For many of you, I know that the next few weeks will be absorbed in making your annual application for funding and ‘easy’ may not be a word that will spring readily to mind. We hope that this will not be overly stressful for you and that you’ll be able to find a way to lift your head and think strategically in the midst of it. We are utterly aware that you‘re making this application against the most unusual and challenging backdrop and we can assure you that we are keenly aware of the continuing uncertainty you face, as time goes on. You’ve had to be highly adaptable in your approach to your organization and your programmes of work and you’ll meet a similar level of flexibility from us. We know that your worries are many and immense and we hope to give you as much certainty as we can in the coming months. We recognise that you have had to adapt to exceptional times and all this will be taken into account when we’re looking at your applications.
In your plans, we’d really like you to focus on how you will reach your audience and engage meaningfully with artists at this time of particularly acute need for them. We know that many of you have been heroically imaginative in how you are adapting to the current scenario and we’re looking forward to seeing evidence of all this in your application. We’ll be awarding a greatly increased number of bursaries, commissions and project awards in the coming months and we hope that you’ll find many opportunities to work with artists who may be new to you and to forge partnerships that will bring pleasure to the public in years to come. It’s also really important to us that the diversity of contemporary Ireland is reflected in the work we support. We look forward to hearing how you plan to address this priority in your plans. In the hope of easing cashflow concerns you may have, we’ll be able to make advances of up to 20% of your 2020 grant level available for those of you in receipt of strategic and arts centre funding.
In everything we do, we strive to respect, support and ensure the inclusion of all voices and cultures that make up Ireland today. You’ll find our community engagement guidelines elsewhere in this newsletter and we hope that you’ll observe these when engaging with us on social media.
If you can spare two minutes, we recommend that you watch this delightful video from The Ark about their twists and turns with a show that can’t go on, just yet. https://youtu.be/oMgSaALl2kk
Filled with hope and reassurance, it should help ease us through the month.
Stay safe and well and keep in touch.