At the end of 2018, Theatre Forum carried out a survey on pay and working conditions in the performing arts. The results of the survey were accompanied by testimonials from artists who spoke candidly about their financial struggles. These were well-known theatre and dance artists, artists who make a new show every year, who have won awards for their work and toured internationally. They are so obviously successful in their chosen careers that it’s natural to assume that they would also be making a good living but despite appearances, their livelihoods still felt precarious. The results of the survey proved that this was more than just a feeling. According to the 144 artists and creative practitioners and 97 arts organisations who responded, average weekly earnings in the arts in 2018 were 30% lower that the average across all sectors (€494.98 compared to €740.32). As well as low wages, the precarious nature of the work means a lack of financial stability, as well as difficulty keeping up with PRSI contributions. There’s also the fact that most arts organisations do not make employer pension contributions or provide a top up to state maternity benefit.
As a single lady I’m probably supposed to be angry and bitter about Valentine’s Day but who has time for that? I think a day dedicated to the people you love is a nice idea – nobody says it has to be all about romantic love! Plus, I’m a big fan of flowers and chocolate so I look forward to the post-Valentine’s bargains!
For those in pursuit of an alternative Valentine’s here are five non-romantic outings that can be enjoyed by couples and non-couples alike!
1. Young Hearts Run Free are taking over the Freemasons Hall for Tinsmith’s Scoop, an evening of readings by Kevin Barry, Professor Declan Kiberd, and Paula Meehan, and music by I Am The Cosmos, Brigid Power-Ryce, Scotland’s Withered Hand, and Young Hearts DJ’s. It’s supposed to be a beautiful venue and I’m sure it will be a very special night. Tickets are €14 and all proceeds will go to the Simon Community.
2. The National Campaign For the Arts and the O’Reilly Theatre are hosting a Cabaret evening on Saturday night. I’ve no idea who will be performing but I’m sure the line-up will be excellent and there will be craft beer and wine deals. Tickets are available on the door for a suggested donation of €10.
3. Lifelogging, the new exhibition at the Science Gallery launched this week. It’s all about data and the information that we share or give away. It looks really interesting, they are open 12-6pm at the weekend and it’s free!
4. If you’re looking for something a little bit lovey-dovey, Pan Pan’s Gavin Quinn has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Abbey. It’s a contemporary interpretation set in a nursing home, but still uses Shakespeare’s original text. It has a great cast and original music and I suspect it will be a very interesting interpretation of a classic play.
5. And if Shakespeare’s not your thing, the IFI are currently showing the Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup, “probably their greatest film” and guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face this Valentine’s Day. It’s on Saturday and Sunday at 6.50pm and also Wednesday and Thursday next week.