Behind the Scenes


Brendan Lynott

Brendan Lynott

WITH DUBLIN City Council (DCC) preparing to take over Smock Alley Theatre (SAT) in Temple Bar, the board of the linked Gaiety School of Acting next door will be hoping that the planned changes don’t impact on their coffers.

Fans of Goldhawk will not be surprised that SAT is in a financial mess. It will be recalled (see The Phoenix 21/9/18) that the directors reported at the time that there was “a significant chance that Smock Alley Theatre will not be sustainable”. Fast-forward to the accounts for 2021, which showed the accumulated deficit standing at €173,000.

Moreover, the auditors highlighted “significant uncertainties” and stated that they were “unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion on these financial statements”.

It was reported by the Dublin Inquirer that DCC is now preparing to take over the running of the venue and create a Dublin Municipal Theatre to operate out of the building, which has been leased from Temple Bar Cultural Trust since 2008.

The SAT board was chaired until the start of this year by banker-turned-financial consultant Brendan Lynott (ex-PTSB) and includes number cruncher Gerard Dempsey (ex-Diageo), Goodbody legal eagle Danielle Fleming, actor Mark Lambert and charity boss Fiona O’Malley.

A long-time director was SAT’s founder and communications consultant, Patrick Sutton, who was the face of Smock Alley for decades. He was also the driving force behind the Gaiety School of Acting, from which he stepped down as head honcho last month after 30 years.

The rather profitable Gaiety School – which is now run by UK theatre director William Wollen and chaired by Element Pictures group head of business affairs Mark Byrne – is closely tied to SAT, as is clear from the theatre’s last accounts. The auditors state that, at the end of 2021, no less than €208,000 was owed by Smock Alley to Singman Ltd, the parent company of the Gaiety School.

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