Despite being effectively closed for about four months, the Society charged with the running on the community’s behalf - the Town Hall Theatre - reported on a very successful 12 months with over 25 live performance nights and some 19,000 attendees to different events. With an approximate cost of €160,000 in total for renovations to date, the management committee are continuing to investigate the sourcing of the financial aid required to create a modern vibrant performance arts and cultural space in the heart of the town.
As well as the very welcome allocation by the then Mayor Michael Kelly and his Town Council colleagues in November of 2013 of €87,000 for the complete renovation and refurbishment of the roof, in March 2014, the Town Hall committee made a successful application to IPB Insurances for funding to assist with the refurbishment of rehearsal spaces throughout the building. ‘’We received €11,250 for this project and work was completed by Lockwood Construction. We also received a grant of €2,490 towards the repair of windows, from Galway County Council” added Chairperson Mary at their well attended AGM in Gullanes Hotel lately.
The Town Hall Theatre team put on record their thanks to Lyn Donnelly of BACD who was Project Manager and was a big part of the success of the refurbishment project which came in on time and on budget. Treasurer Gerry Sweeney also put on record thanks to the Ballinasloe Jobs Club for the employment scheme operatives throughout the year who help with maintenance and to the TUS Galway Rural Development team for their allocation of crew to assist with elements of skilled specialist refurbishment and production support. Chair Mary O’Connell remarked how lucky we were to have as a community the goodwill and continued co–operation of all the agency schemes who can prioritise the needs of the not for profit voluntary led organisations. Among other projects discussed were the painting of the auditorium and the foyer by the volunteer crew, the purchase of cinema equipment thanks to a Credit Union Social Fund of €3,000 and the new rate card for local user groups.
The Audited accounts for the trading years previous were discussed as was the budget for 2015 which showed a venue merely washing its face with live performances, some licencees to the building providing 85% of income with the balance having to be fundraised. ‘’The business model that we are building is to try and support a €200,000 development that will allow us to create the interior of a fully functional arts space that will live up to modern arts and culture needs, without losing the charm of the historic venue’’, remarked Gerry Sweeney.
The committee are constantly in search of new initiatives and ways to encourage a wider use of the theatre and to build a more extensive performance based calendar, the arrangement of new Music rehearsal rooms for the Town Band from spring onwards is evidence of this focus.
At the moment the theatre is being put to use, with the recordings of promotional videos by local artists and drama schools as well as a weekly cinema programme, following the successful cinema launch led by Sunday Business Post representative, John McGuire on November 21. Elected to serve on the Management Committee of the Society were Mary O’Connell, Gerry Sweeny, Colm Croffy, Brendan Tully, Joe Duane, Frances Leahy, Eoin Croffy, Davey Rafter and Pat McGovern. Rev. John Garvey who stood down after some 8 years of being involved with the project was warmly thanked by the Society’s members for his sterling efforts in securing a suitable mechanism for handover of the venue to community management.
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