| 16.7°C Dublin

'Nidge-appeal' helps keep the Abbey in profit

Nidge-APPEAL has helped put the Abbey Theatre on course to make a profit for the second year in a row.

The theatre yesterday described Our Few and Evil Days starring Love/Hate's Tom Vaughan Lawlor as a "sell-out sensation" that will help the Abbey remain in the black.

The theatre returned to profit last year after slashing costs by €2m.

New figures show it recorded a profit in 2013 of €718,130. This followed a loss of €1.4m in 2012 and represents a positive swing of €2.12m.


At the start of this year, the theatre was budgeting for a modest loss of €42,000 for 2014.

But after better-than-anticipated box office receipts helped by Vaughan Lawlor and Love/Hate's Siobhan (Charlie Murphy) starring in the Mark O'Rowe play, the theatre is now projecting a profit again this year.

Abbey financial director Declan Cantwell said yesterday: "It [2014] has been a great year for us, both from a box office and artistic point of view.

"It has been very, very successful, and the good news is that with the surpluses from last year and this year we will be able to do more in the coming years."

Abbey boss Fiach Mac Conghail said the theatre had to innovate last year in order to "weather severe funding cuts".

"To return to surplus in 2013 was a major achievement for us," he said.

"Despite revenues being below levels for 2012, we managed to achieve a healthy surplus through managing costs very effectively."

Mr Cantwell said the overall financial state of the Abbey "is quite strong".

Last year, 100,015 theatre-goers paid to see productions on the Abbey and Peacock stages.

That figure has already been surpassed this year, with 106,000 people visiting the theatre.

Box office receipts passed the €1m mark in April, the earliest recording of this figure since 2009.

Mr Mac Conghail's salary last year decreased marginally to €120,088, which included a pension contribution of €12,857.

The theatre incurred exceptional costs of €61,697 related to the redundancy of four staff.