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Pans of rashers at the Abbey Theatre

Tuesday, 21 January, 2014

It was Brendan Behan who famously said that Dublin’s Abbey Theatre was the best-fed theatre company in the world because, every time there was a crisis in the kind of plays it staged, someone put on a pan of rashers.

Behan’s jab, which was delivered in the 1950s, was directed at the provincial, smug and flabby nature of the company, but it has lost none of its sting over the subsequent decades. According to a recent report by a group of assessors, some Abbey productions do reach “an acceptable standard for professional theatre presentation.” The assessors gave just four of 12 recent Abbey productions ratings that were “very good” or “excellent,” or very close to it. Four were ranked as “good” and four were judged to be somewhere between “acceptable’ and “good.” For the Arts Council of Ireland, the report is troubling as it gave the Abbey Theatre grants of €7.1 million last year. One could buy an awful lot of rashers with that kind of dosh.

This just in: The Director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail, has accused The Irish Times of “cruelty” in publishing independent reports critical of his theatre’s productions.

rashers


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