Culture Minister also plans to hold late evening openings and events in museums
The State will pay for singers, comedians and even jugglers to perform in pubs in an unprecedented attempt to revive arts across the board and the night-time economy, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Meanwhile there are advanced "Night at the Museum" plans to breathe cultural and party life into our major institutions through a programme of late-evening openings and events throughout the summer.
“People want new offerings, to mix daytime activities into their free time at night, after the pandemic,” Arts and Culture Minister Catherine Martin told the Sunday Independent.
The nocturnal entertainment drive will see the State provide artists with paying gigs and pub customers with an extra reason to get mellow during their leisure hours.
Taxpayer-paid entertainment will be aimed at off-peak times in pubs, clubs, galleries, cafes and other suitable venues “to support an alternative, diverse and inclusive night-time offering.”
The performances can include live music, comedy routines, literature or poetry readings, theatre and drama performances, even dance, craftwork, and art and photography exhibitions.
“Look at cities like Berlin, where culture thrives at all hours, where a city’s heartbeat doesn’t end at night,” said Ms Martin.
“Or look at New York, Paris and Montreal. These cities don’t close. Their vibrancy continues well into the night. Those cities have built their reputations on this mix.”
State institutions will also be harnessed to her new fun agenda, possibly transforming forever a sector that has public perceptions of being staid and stuffy, Ms Martin indicated. “Look at Toronto, where the Royal Ontario Museum has held unique nightly events,” she said. “Partygoers experience a moveable feast of food and beverages throughout the museum.
“There are pop-up bars, tantalising fare, artisanal foods. We see their art installations, fashion shows, talks, performances and dance. Even DJs performing away to electronic beats.”
The Department of Justice are leading on work to reform licensing laws which will in turn facilitate innovation in cultural and hospitality settings, she said.
A number of cultural institutions will pilot late evening and more diverse events across the summer, from next month until September.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art, for instance, will launch ‘IMMA Nights’ from mid-May. It will open its 48-acre grounds every Thursday and Friday across the season to a range of activities including talks, art, dance, theatre, DJs and live music.
The National Museum of Country life in Co Mayo, will join in the pilot. Plans are in development and will be released soon.Meanwhile Collins Barracks museum will host evening parties in June, followed by a series of concerts, including Simply Red, and the National Concert Hall is developing a new festival “with a focus of electronic music and the visual arts.”
The pub performances scheme meanwhile aims to attract people into the centres of towns and cities later in the evening and over the course of the night, into the early hours. In some cases there may be residents’ objections, but the minister is confident that all will work out and lead to a revival and renaissance of Irish cultural output — even if a juggler might accidentally spill the odd pint or two.
“We’ll be offering a range of cultural activities in a variety of venues, including those that don’t sell alcohol,” she said. “It will also support businesses in trialling events during the earlier part of the week when it’s typically quieter. This is with a view to developing a more long-term sustainable offering in the night-time economy.”