The show will go on for Alan Hughes and Karl Broderick after Minister Catherine Martin’s Department performed a dramatic u-turn and awarded them €230,000 in Government funding.
The two producers were left bitterly disappointed earlier this month after their application was rejected for the €5m Live Performance Scheme which aims to get the entertainment industry up-and-running again.
The Virgin Media presenter and his husband have been running their Christmas pantomime for the past 23 years but say they were devastated after their company, Anthem Productions, was not green-lighted for the funding.
However, the Department for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture has now overturned its original decision and approved their company’s application.
An insider source told the Herald that due to a technical error, not all of their application had been received, leading to its being rejected.
This has now been rectified and an apology has been issued, much to the delight of the two producers.
They say they had lined up a 35-strong team of cast and crew who had been hoping to perform for pantomime fans this Christmas.
It’s understood that this is the only exception that is being made with regards to the scheme, which green-lighted applications from 58 different companies involved in the industry.
When contacted, a Department spokesperson confirmed that “one additional project has now been awarded money.”
Mr Hughes said that he was “extremely happy” that their application had
been given the go-ahead and said the whole matter had been dealt with in
a very professional manner by Minister Martin’s department.
He said that getting their panto up-and-running again would mean so much to their team, many of whom have not worked for most of 2020 and were facing into a bleak December.
“The Department got their whole committee back together to examine our application and they have awarded us with the €230,000 that we were looking for so we’re very happy,” said Hughes.
“We probably took what happened a bit personally as we felt we had been overlooked and our work had been overlooked.
"But it was just a clerical error so we feel really vindicated today.
“We’re delighted and just need to sit down now and look at it and say to our teams ‘What do we think we can do?’
"This time last year, we had already started rehearsals so we’re just looking at all our options as it’s so late in the year. Hopefully we will be able to put something on.”
Other companies to receive funding in the popular pilot scheme include Aiken Promotions and the Olympia Theatre.
Producer Robert C Kelly was given the green light for €300,000 for his annual pantomime in Limerick.
Comedians Pat Shortt and Jason Byrne were also receipients of the scheme as were smaller music venues like the Roisin Dubh in Galway.