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'Overwhelming number' of applications to fund for Irish creators in need due to coronavirus

The fund was set up by the Civic Theatre in Tallaght, Dublin.

Image: Shutterstock/Anna Jurkovska

A THEATRE IN Dublin has raised over €28k to help Irish artists who need financial help due to the coronavirus. 

The Civic Theatre in Tallaght raised €23,875 in just four days for those who are experiencing financial hardship. The money has since jumped to over €28k.

They said that by Thursday 18 March they had already paid funds out to 50 of the struggling artists who applied “to help them pay bills, put food on the table and give them some peace of mind”.

They received 400 applications in just nine hours while applications were open on St Patrick’s Day, and said that this would require over €200,000 to meet.

The theatre say that a fresh round of fundraising is needed to help more people, and are now making a new appeal with a new funding target of €50,000.

Marketing manager at the Civic, Niamh Honer said that they hoped the fund could be ”a bright spot in worrying times”.

As we have seen in recent days the importance of the arts in providing hope and distraction as communities virtually come together to enjoy music, share live streaming experiences or get involved in art classes and workshops. The applications have far exceeded the fund so we are appealing for more donations to help provide immediate support.

The fund was established to provide financial relief through €500 grants, paid rapidly on a first-come, first-served basis to affected artists and groups.

Donations will be accepted from individuals and corporations in order to replenish the fund. The Civic is covering all admin/processing costs so 100% of every donation goes directly to artists in the community.

“It’s been done through crowdfunding through GoFundMe,” said Honer, explaining how initially it was people within the arts community who were supporting the initiative, but it has spread out since.

“I think it’s a really good community initiative, it’s something constructive for everyone to do and something they can get behind and it’s positive,” said Honer. ”Everyone knows somebody that’s been hit and particularly the freelance artists in the arts community – they are the first people [affected] when their gigs get cancelled out of nowhere. It’s what they were relying on for their bills, their mortgages, their rent, so it’s very upsetting to see it happen.”

It’s a crisis and we need to act. 

“A lot of freelance artists will have seasons and this is a particularly busy season. A lot of people will have their gigs booked, it might be things they do every year. Tours and productions were supposed to be kicking off. A load of those are postponed and cancelled.”

“It’s really really tough” for people working in the arts right now, said Honer, because of the precariousness of a lot of their employment. Honer added that the fund is not just for artists, it’s for people with jobs in production, stage management, direction and all full-time professionals behind the scene. 

They said they have received applications from choreographers, painters, actors, musicians, opera singers, directors, writers, producers, stage managers, theatre technicians, designers, singers and songwriters.

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The fund has also been helped by actor Ste Jones, who is doing a 28-mile walk in Dublin today, stopping off at different theatres (which social distancing).

While he is doing the walk in solidarity of those in the arts community, many of those supporting him have sent funds to the Civic Theatre fund.

That funds raised from Tuesday will be going out to successful applicants later today and tomorrow.

Those who apply for the immediate relief are asked to show proof that they have lost income. There is no stipulation on how they spend the money. For more details, visit the GoFundMe page.

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