Royal seal of approval as Colgan gets OBE
THEATRE impresario Michael Colgan's contribution to the arts and increased cultural ties between Ireland and its neighbouring island were recognised yesterday when he was awarded an OBE by the British government.
The Order of the British Empire was awarded to the 60-year-old artistic director of Dublin's Gate Theatre by the British ambassador to Ireland, Julian King, at a ceremony in the British ambassador's residence in Sandyford.
Mr King said the honour was awarded to Mr Colgan due to the "exceptional contribution to cultural relations in the field of the arts between the UK and Ireland".
Mr King pinned an insignia on Mr Colgan's lapel in front of an audience of the theatre director's family and friends in an informal ceremony in the drawing room of the ambassador's residence.
Ever the joker, Mr Colgan, in his acceptance speech, said he had been "delighted" when the ambassador had informed him that the queen had decided to offer him an OBE, obviously, he said, "in an effort to get closer".
"That was back in March and since then I've often wished that this OBE was a Gate production given that (a) it would be our longest running show and (b) certainly the one that received most publicity," he said in a reference to the controversy sparked by the announcement that he was to receive the UK honour.
Mr Colgan thanked the British ambassador on "behalf of your country for this prestigious award" and said that the award belonged to everyone who worked alongside him at The Gate for the last 27 years. He also noted that the OBE had not been given solely because of his theatre's fostering better cultural relations between these islands "but also to mark our long-standing and ground-breaking relationship with the late Harold Pinter".