Cork’s Everyman Theatre, the beating heart of Cork City, announced its shutdown on the 12th of March, and thus ended its showing of Beckett’s play Watt, starring Barry McGovern, directed by Tom Creed. The Covid-19 restrictions that had been put in place caused the Everyman, a non-profit charity, to slowly diminish into darkness as the auditorium had shut its doors to its viewers. The theatre survives on the 92 per cent of its revenue that comes from ticket sales. However, this disappeared overnight, reducing the non-profit to rely on the remaining 8 per cent that comes from donations and/or grants. With the government announcing that all theatres were permitted to reopen on the 29th of June, the Everyman was unable to do so, until they had implemented enough security and safety measures for their audiences, artists, staff and volunteers.
That being said, the Everyman has decided to open their doors on the 15th of September. An idea emerged in the committee of Dramat, a society in UCC that not only promotes theatrical arts and drama for students but also puts on productions for students starring students. Chairperson of the society, Mathilde Melle, has always wanted to do Shakespearean readings as an event with the society, and with the help of the rest of the committee, it has now evolved into an online Zoom event. This event, a 24-hour live stream, is an ideal fundraiser during these uncertain times. Alongside the English, LGBTQ+, and Comedy societies, the event is set to take place on the 22nd of August. A casting call deadline was set for the 8th of August.
They say that theatre is about being there in person, and not seeing anything happen on stage would be difficult for the residents of the Everyman, as well as those that frequently use the theatre who may not have a place to go back to if the theatre decides to shut down due to lack of funding. Through this online Shakespearean reading event, the Dramat Society – as well as the Everyman Theatre – hope that there could be a fresh set of eyes from their donors and those who are willing to contribute towards rebuilding their finances.
Sean Kelly, Executive Director of the Everyman, however, remains optimistic and excited about the reopening of the theatre. Speaking with the University Express, Kelly noted that “Although the Everyman has faced grave challenges in recent months, we will soon re-open our doors for our audiences to enjoy great nights at this unique theatre. That we are able to do this is thanks to the support of our community and, of course, the resilience and ingenuity of our wonderful staff. Many things about our environment have changed but The Everyman’s commitment to serving its public has not and, together, we can look to the future with excitement and optimism.”