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Live performances to take place at the Abbey and NCH in Covid rules test

Arts Minister Catherine Martin said these events are an important step in showing that these are controlled spaces which can operate safely.

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A series of test live performances will take place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and Abbey Theatre from next week (Niall Carson/PA)

A series of test live performances will take place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and Abbey Theatre from next week (Niall Carson/PA)

A series of test live performances will take place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall and Abbey Theatre from next week (Niall Carson/PA)

A series of test live performances will take place at Dublin’s National Concert Hall (NCH) and Abbey Theatre from next week as Ireland unwinds pandemic lockdown restrictions.

The events are an important step in showing that these are controlled spaces which can operate safely at this time, Arts Minister Catherine Martin said.

The Abbey will be open over a series of days for one audience member in a specially designed booth, with productions lasting just five minutes and performed by one actor.

Reopening is a journey, one that will be travelled slowly and safelyThe Abbey directors

Theatre for one adult and one child would then be introduced after Christmas.

The Abbey’s directors Graham McLaren and Neil Murray said: “Reopening is a journey, one that will be travelled slowly and safely.”

They added that the pilot gives a message of hope looking towards 2021 for the theatre artists and the wider theatre community in Ireland.

“We are delighted to bring Theatre for One to life at the Abbey Theatre.

“We’re proud to co-produce, with Landmark and Octopus Theatricals, on the world premiere of Theatre For One (And A Little One), rounding out an extraordinary year, with an intimate performance for young audiences.”

The Irish Chamber Orchestra will perform a Christmas Celebration at the NCH next Saturday for an audience of 100.

Maura McGrath, chairwoman of NCH, and Simon Taylor, chief executive, said: “Bringing audiences back to live music and theatre will play such an important part for the arts and culture sector returning and we are delighted to be running this test concert with the Irish Chamber Orchestra on Saturday 19th December.”

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Catherine Martin said arts and culture can enrich lives safely while operating to strict protocols to protect public health (Brian Lawless/PA)

Catherine Martin said arts and culture can enrich lives safely while operating to strict protocols to protect public health (Brian Lawless/PA)

Catherine Martin said arts and culture can enrich lives safely while operating to strict protocols to protect public health (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Martin said the reopening of galleries, museums and cinemas in recent days has shown how arts and culture can enrich lives safely while operating to strict protocols to protect public health.

“I am acutely aware of the great importance of drama and music in all of our lives and these events are an important step in showing that these are controlled spaces which can operate safely at this time.”

The Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, in its report entitled Life Worth Living, recently recommended that the treatment of cultural activities and venues under the various levels of the plan for living with Covid-19 be reviewed.

It noted that many cultural centres, venues, galleries and cinemas offer large areas with ample circulation and controlled auditoria and spaces capable of facilitating large numbers of people in accordance with public health guidelines.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan expressed concern that incidence of infection was rising again.

On Sunday, the National Public Health Emergency Team was notified of one more death with Covid-19.

As of midnight Saturday, the health system has been notified of 429 confirmed cases.

There have been 76,185 confirmed cases in Ireland.

Dr Holohan said: “Today, I am concerned that we are seeing the incidence of Covid-19 rising again.

“429 is a large number of cases by the standard of recent weeks and the five-day moving average has now increased above 300 per day.”

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