“THIS is one of those of projects that wouldn’t go down very well on the Dragons Den” the manager of the Watergate, Ger Cody, told the Borough Council as he appealed for more funding to secure the future of the local municipal theatre.
In a brief history of theatre in Kilkenny Mr Cody pointed out that going back as far as the 1600 there were two common threads in all reports, the first was the high quality of the productions and the second was the scarcity of the funding.
Mr Cody told the council that in order to insure that Kilkenny becomes a centre for the arts in the south east, the Watergate would need to be extended and updated. He said “The Watergate never had money. People in the arts never had money. Dream and hope is about all we have. To our left at the Watergate is the brewery car park and it is my belief that if members of the council could meet members of Diageo to arrange the purchase of the same. We would love to see this area being transformed into a building and a centre akin to the George Bernard Shaw in Carlow. The inclusion of a restaurant and a bar and a facility for smaller shows. At the moment at the Watergate, not only do we not have these facilities but we don’t even have a costume room.”
Cllr O’hArgain (Lab) said that he believed that the Watergate has hosted some of the best productions he has ever seen since he came to Kilkenny. “I have long felt that the Watergate has a problem in relation to small productions. A smaller venue within the venue is definitely needed.
“The other issue that has to be brought up here tonight is the lack of a full bar license is something that does hamper the Watergate. I think people who do want to go to a traditional gig or a jazz gig want to have a pint. So many people leave gigs at half time and go across the road for a pint that it really takes away from the atmosphere. I agree with Ger about the expansion but it is a very difficult time to be looking for that, but maybe it is the right time to be purchasing with an eye to the future of the Watergate,” he said.
Cllr Joe Reidy (Fianna Fail) praised the work of the Watergate and pledged that the council “would do whatever we can to support you.”
Cllr John Coonan (Fianna Fail) said that he would support a bar license also. He said “I would agree with having a license. There is nothing wrong with having a drink and enjoying a nice meal and enjoying company.”
However Cllr Joe Malone (Fianna Fail) said that he felt the lack of a license was one of the reasons that the Watergate was such a suitable venue for holding events for a younger audience.