Half-hearted: Irish Theatre, 2003
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Patrick Lonergan (2004) 'Half-hearted: Irish Theatre, 2003'. New Hibernia Review, 8 (2):142-151.
Irish theater experienced an unusuaily quiet period in 2003. Although the year was free of the controversies that have overshadowed recent years, it was also too frequently free of excitement, creativity, and originality. Whether this was a sign of artistic inertia or overcautious restraint was often difficult to judge. This, after all, was the year before the Abbey Centenary, and there were strong indications that many theater companies were holding back their best work for the 2004 celebrations. But it was also the year in which—after more than a decade of investment—the Arts Council implemented major funding cuts to its theater program. Many companies learned in December, 2002, that their grants for the following year would be significantly reduced—in some cases by as much as 40 percent—leading many into a hasty reorganization of their 2003 schedules: tours were cancelled, productions scaled back or postponed indefinitely, and company administrators were made redundant. This created a sense of gloom that translated, in many instances, into conservative programming and half-hearted productions.