Despite the sad news about the short term closure of the Belltable, I am pleased to say Limerick still has a vibrant theatre and indeed a flourishing film community. This is mixture of non-professional and professional organisations, which are creating some wonderful work. Limerick boast’s a number of professional Theatre Co.’s who on an ongoing basis produce quality work, these include “Bottom Dog” “Wildebeest” “Magic Roundabout” “Sidhe” and “Orchard Theatre Co”. One that stands out particularly is Orchard Theatre Co, which was established in 2005 by Artistic Director Simon Thompson and in 2009 relocated to Limerick. Since then they have produced eleven shows which have toured nationally and one internationally. In order to produce these shows they have had the pleasure of giving paid employment to Limerick people including 30 Actors, 1 Dancer, 1 Musician, 9 Technicians, 1 Marketing Person, 1 Make-up Artist and a photographer. Along with these productions they have also Co-Produced a schools version of Hamlet with Bottom Dog, have worked continuously with Limerick Youth Theatre, County Limerick Youth Theatre, The International Youth Theatre, and the VEC providing workshops, directing productions, designing and making costumes and making sets. They have their own Shakespeare for Students program that tours schools nationally, and Simon Thompson is the Artist in residence with Footsteps Youth Theatre for 2013. Orchard Theatre Co also runs regular professional development workshops for actors and directors. Limerick may currently be lacking in an annually funded theatre company, but it does have a wealth of talent and expertise along with a number of professional theatre companies that provide opportunities for new rising stars and back stage staff. Personally looking towards the future of theatre and the arts in Limerick, more collaboration is required and cross discipline skill sharing is needed. We have some great resources and skills, everyone should be promoting what Limerick achieves artistically not dumbing it down. 2014 when Limerick has the honour of being Ireland’s City of Culture is only round the corner and this is a time for Limerick artists to showcase their work and talents, so it is time to support local artists and professional theatre in Limerick. For more info go to www.facebook.com/orchardtheatreco.
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