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Saturday 25 November 2017

Gate considers postponing Christmas play amid Colgan fallout

Michael Colgan
Michael Colgan
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The Gate Theatre is considering postponing the opening of its Christmas production amid allegations of bullying.

'The Red Shoes' was due to preview on November 23, but the opening could be delayed as the theatre handles harassment reports levied at former artistic director Michael Colgan.

The production is a reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson's macabre fairy tale and is being directed by the theatre's current artistic director Selina Cartmell.

The story was famously transposed to the big screen in 1948 by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

The Gate Theatre has been at the centre of harassment allegations for a fortnight after arts practitioner Grace Dyas spoke out about Colgan's behaviour during his tenure at the theatre. Since then several other women have come forward with allegations.

On Thursday, the board of the Gate Theatre issued a statement saying it was taking all reports of 'abuse of power' "extremely seriously".

It announced that independent HR adviser Gaye Cunningham will look into the complaints.

Earlier in the week, Culture Minister Heather Humphreys announced a number of measures to tackle sexual harassment and abuse of power in the workplace in the arts and culture sector.

Ms Humphreys also said she would be collaborating with the National Theatre at the Abbey to facilitate an industry-wide consultation exercise by the end of the month.

The boards of national cultural institutions and agencies will have to attend workshops that will deal with governance.

Yesterday, Garry Hynes of the Druid Theatre confirmed she would be one of the members of the Irish arts community to meet with Ms Humphreys next week.

Irish Independent

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