Following a letter of concern written to the Minister for Arts regarding The Abbey Theatre's current operating model on 7th January and signed by 312 signatories (now 426 signatories) meetings were arranged between a representative panel on behalf of the signatories and members of The Abbey Theatre board and management. To date one full panel meeting has taken place while four out of five further bilateral meetings (divided into particular areas of the sector) have also taken place.
Having received advice that a facilitator would be best practice for talks like these the panel had requested financial help from the Arts Council to cover this cost but have to date been refused.
The representative panel feel that moving forward at the next full panel meeting it is imperative that an independent facilitator is present who will chair the meeting and pinpoint concrete solutions that address our issues, as outlined in the original 7th January letter to the Minister, with timelines for completion agreed by both parties.
As the representative panel are working on these issues in a voluntary capacity and do not have the funds to employ an independent facilitator ourselves we have set up a crowdfunding page in order to create a fund with which to pay an independent facilitator to engage with the process from the next full representative panel meeting with The Abbey Theatre loosely set for the end of May 2019.
UPDATE: The Abbey Theatre have offered to meet 50% of the facilitator costs.