Irish Theatre Magazine, since its founding in 1999 one of the leading sources of criticism and news for theatre, dance, and opera in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, has lost its funding from the Arts Council and will stop publishing new content as a result.
The loss is a definite blow for theatre coverage in Ireland, but also underlines the weakness of being partially or wholly dependent on government subsidies, as many arts groups in Ireland are. When times are good, the model works well. But when your economy goes off a cliff – not so much.
ITM’s explanation of the closing repeats familiar and by now somewhat outdated talking points about these being challenging times for what has become of print media, etc. Elsewhere, new media models are well beyond (like five years?) this moment of considering how the landscape has changed and already pretty far down the path of finding new ways to do news and arts criticism. Two close to home examples in the Northwest come to mind: Arts Watch in Portland and Crosscut in Seattle. And of course, HowlRound nationally.
With its strong brand and following, it seems certain ITM could make a comeback with a more entrepreneurial, self-supporting mindset.