Cork Opera House takes €7m in venue’s ‘toughest time’
Cork Opera House’s revenue collapsed by €7million – or 98.65% – last year due to a prolonged enforced Covid-19 closure.
New accounts for the Cork Opera House DAC show the venue’s revenue for the 12 months to the end of March last year totaled just €95,493. This compares to a turnover of 7.09 million euros for the previous year.
The venue recorded pre-tax losses of €226,247 for the year and this follows a surplus of €111,640 for the previous year – a negative change of €337,887. The Cork Opera House – which also operates the Half Moon Theater closed on 12 March 2020 due to Covid-19 and remained closed for the 12 months under review.
With the easing of restrictions, the Opera House is back in business with a busy schedule of upcoming events including Dara O Briain, Tori Amos and the Blindboy Podcast Live.
In his report, Cork Opera Chairman Tim Healy said that “our strong performance over the previous years has put us in a good position to weather the storm and throughout the shutdown we have done every effort to ensure our future survival, including reducing costs in all areas of the business”.
Cork Opera has been forced to lay off staff and also received Covid-19 salary supports. The workforce fell from 49 to 14 and personnel costs fell from €1.86 million to €656,341.
Mr Healy said: ‘We have done everything we can to reduce costs as much as possible in this period with a view to our long-term survival.’ In her report, CEO Eibhlin Gleeson said the year “was the most difficult period in recent history for Cork Opera”.
Ms Gleeson said that “with no shows on our stage and no customers coming through our doors, we have not been able to maintain the strong financial position to which we have grown accustomed”.
Ms Gleeson said ‘our past few years of healthy earnings and cost-cutting exercises have put us in a strong position to weather the storm’.
On the impact of Covid on Opera staff, Ms Gleeson said ‘this period has been devastating for many of them.’ We look forward to a stronger future and our inevitable recovery which will not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our workforce,” she added.
Accounts show Cork Opera House received grants during the year totaling €979,637, double the grant level of €489,031 received in 2020.
The grant was made up of Covid-19 salary support of €299,694, €250,000 from Cork County Council and the Arts Council of €404,943. €25,000 was also received from AP Wireless.
At the end of last March, the Cork Opera had equity capital of €4.2 million. The site operator’s cash increased slightly, from €1.22 million to €1.24 million.