Scheduled witnesses include Abbey Theatre Chair Frances Ruane, Arts Council of Ireland Chair Sheila Pratschke and Irish actor Declan Conlon.

Representatives of the Abbey Theatre, the Arts Council and signatories of a letter which expressed dissatisfaction around the direction taken by the Abbey Theatre will come before an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday.

The letter – which has criticised the way in which administration at the theatre have been conducted since the appointment of its Directors Neil Murray and Graham McLaren in 2016 – was sent to culture minister Josepha Madigan on 7 January to express concern. 

It claims that the freelance theatre "has been cast adrift" and that fewer in-house productions are being produced, which is causing “devastation among our ranks”. 

It's understood that over 400 industry professionals signed the letter, including Aidan Gillen, Ciarán Hinds, Sarah Greene and Sinéad Cusack.

Both Murray and McLaren took over from the previous director, Fiach MacConghail.

The meeting – scheduled for 2:30pm – will consider the current model of production, presenting and co-presenting in the Abbey Theatre. 

Signatories of the letter will speak along with the Abbey Theatre and the Arts Council before the Oireachtas Committee for Culture, Heritage and The Gaeltacht.

“As Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey for a century and more has played an invaluable role in realising the artistic ambitions of so many,” said Committee Chairman Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, ahead of the meeting. 

“Given the current public discussion on the Abbey’s model of production, the Committee is keen to foster consensus and constructive progress. Ultimately we need to ensure that the Abbey continues to inspire and encourage Ireland’s playwrights, actors, directors and all those involved in stagecraft.”

The meeting in Committee Room 1 can be viewed live here.

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