The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton.
Following the appointment of a new board and management, one of Connacht’s outstanding arts venues has seen a spectacular increase in footfall year-on-year.
According to online Ticketsolve figures, attendance at events in The Glens has increased April 2018 to April 2019 by 39%. This equates to an average audience increase of just over 20% per event, allowing that there has been an increase in programmed activities.
The year has seen a varied programme, featuring the talents of Jon Kenny, Lisa Lambe, Chamber Philharmonic Europe and Séamus O’Rourke, to name but a few. This has managed to re-invigorate established audience interest and to welcome many new faces. Box Office returns have increased by 19% and if this seems at odds with the audience increase, it is because the new Director, Brendan Murray, pointedly reduced ticket prices and this has proven to be popular with the public. And with a newly appointed Administrator, Jamie Blessing, and Technical Manager, Cormac Carroll, energies are now firmly focused on a new era for The Glens.
Under the guidance of its Chair, Peter Kearns, the new Board of Management is establishing a new Strategy and Business Plan to set out a sustainable future for one of Ireland’s oldest regional arts centres, which is funded by Pobal, Arts Council and Leitrim Co Co. The next year will see further development in programming, allied with developing artist residencies and producing The Glens first ever in-house theatre commission, by leading playwright Donal O’Kelly, which will then go on tour.
Since its inception in 1996, formed as it was by a visionary, local team of arts activists, The Glens Centre has garnered a national reputation as a venue of very special quality, given its unique setting in an old converted Methodist church. Its excellent acoustics and intimate atmosphere continues to woo artists and audiences alike and the new team in place is very conscious of its responsibilities as the current ‘keepers of the flame’, which has burned brightly for 23 years. It is determined to build on the great work that has been in progress under various managements, all of which have contributed enormously to its success.
The Glens has also been given further recognition of its quality delivery by being awarded an extension to its International Fund for Ireland cross border project, Across the Lines. With a budget of over €150,000, the project will now extend to the end of 2020, under the guidance of its Co-Ordinator, Ruth Moore, and its Administrator, Aideen Stewart. It is a hugely exciting period for this progressive and innovative centre for arts and entertainment and its team of Joe McLoughlin, Mary McGovern, Sheila McHugh and Treasa Nealon.