President addresses the Irish Repertory Theatre’s virtual gala “The Irish Rep...and How We Got That Way”
New York City, 14th July, 2020
Tá áthas an domhain orm gach dea guí a sheóladh d’on compántas cruthaíochta Irish Repertory Theatre, a lucht tacaíochta ags a gcáirde.
I am delighted to send my regards to the Irish Repertory Theatre and to your friends and supporters.
Tógaim an deis seo, le do thoil, mo bheannacht do comhluadar na hÉireannaig uilig i New York ag an am deachar seo.
May I, through you, also send my very best wishes to the wider Irish community in New York at this difficult time.
Our world has been so changed since I visited the Irish Repertory Theatre last September.
Much of society has, of necessity, been put on pause, while brave women and men continue to work tirelessly on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, some as medics and others engaged in those essential tasks that enable the basics of our society to function. To them we must all express an during gratitude for their selflessness, the risks taken by them and their families.
Our hearts of course must go out to those who are grieving for loved ones lost, wherever they may be, so many in New York.
The community solidarity in response to Covid-19 that I have seen in Ireland, and that has been reported from New York, is remarkable. I want to thank all those who have reached out to check in on the lonely, or delivered food to the isolated or raised money for those without incomes. It is often at times of crisis we are forced to draw on aspects of the spirit that may have encountered our neglect. These resources of the spirit are kept alive, in a particular way, by those who work in arts and culture.
We need artists and their work. Cultural workers, creativity, and performance itself, better enhance and renew the rhythms of our shared community life.
Culture and the arts are not only our resource when we are fearful; they also hold a mirror to our capacities, question false inevitabilities, can point the way to a better future. It is of the greatest importance that we keep safe the space of culture and performance in our society, support and protect the living conditions of all those who remind us of how to make our lives more fully human by their work of the spirit and imagination.
The lockdown may have robbed us the intimacy and immediacy of the physical theatre but that will return. In the meantime, the Irish Repertory Theatre, by other means, are bringing their work into the homes and lives of their audiences, who are in new circumstances, showing how in adversity the creativity for which they are renowned is indomitable.
I wish you every success for now and into the future.
Guím gach rath oraibh d’on todhchaí.
I look forward to seeing you all again in New York.