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Covid 19 update and Autumn Programme news

STATEMENT by Venue Director
In March 2020, following a government announcement, public buildings and arts centres closed their doors in a national effort to curb the spread of Coronavirus, Covid 19.  The impact of Covid 19 on the arts and culture sector is immense, its effects long-lasting and the sector will require much support to recover following the worst of the pandemic.  The public health guidelines and restrictions required to ensure adequate social distancing mean that many arts centres will find it difficult to safely welcome an audience to their venues in the coming months.

As an intimate venue, Riverbank Arts Centre finds itself in this challenging position and is exploring all options and opportunities to return a live audience to their seats. However, public health and safety is at the forefront of all decisions and actions at this time and Riverbank aims to ensure that we play our role in following guidelines rigorously, ensuring best practice is adhered to, as we navigate through this difficult time. This means that, by necessity, our capacity will be severely restricted, our programmes altered and it may be some time before we have the option to host a live audience in the theatre. As the guidelines stand, with a social distancing requirement of 2 metres, the audience capacity in the theatre would be 14 people and unfortunately, with this number it won’t be possible to present live shows. We are continually assessing, evaluating and exploring our options and opportunities to return to some degree of normality. However, until is it possible to safely welcome a feasible number of audience members, creativity will remain at the core of our work and we will continue to adapt our practice and programmes to provide a quality service and arts experiences for our audiences,  if not onsite then virtually or at remote locations. Our strategy and key goals for the  remainder of the year will be heavily focused on supporting artists in developing new work through commissions, co-productions, providing venue space, technical support and more at Riverbank. We will continue to work with artists and facilitators to engage with the public, schools and young people by providing alternative, creative and exciting mechanisms of interacting with arts and culture.

With the utmost respect and consideration for the value and livelihoods of artists, crew and arts workers, the board, executive and team at Riverbank Arts Centre are committed to continuing to engage, commission, present and support artists and arts workers through these challenging times. With our experienced, skilled and committed team and the continued support of our key stakeholders and audiences, I have no doubt that this difficult period will be successfully overcome together.

Linda Geraghty, August 2020

Autumn plans and highlights include:


ART FEEDS – Kildare Art Collective
McKenna Gallery – September/October  2020

Kildare Art Collective & Friends present a collaborative project developed as a platform to process and document our lives throughout these strange times, while creating an opportunity for communication, conversation and crossover between disciplines. Participating artists worked collaboratively exchanging ideas and working together using alternative methods of communication such as email, letter, carrier pigeon, phone calls, telepathy, video calls and text. The diverse work created during this project is an eclectic mix with interesting themes and details arising as we adjust to our new reality and navigate changes to how we work together.


THEATRE: Keith Walsh – PURE MENTAL – nationwide tour

Following our successful work-in-progress presentation in June this year, Riverbank Arts Centre is partnering with writer/performer Keith Walsh and director Janet Moran to produce a nationwide tour of this brand new play this Autumn. 



In Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021, we will present a brand new initiative – the Riverbank Whiteboard programme, a series of interactive arts broadcast to the schools throughout Kildare featuring leading children’s writers, illustrators and theatre-makers – for more details contact 

In 2019, 6,500 children from 41 schools attended events at Riverbank Arts Centre as part of a school trip. We are committed to programming for primary and secondary schools in an innovative way this Autumn, despite the Covid 19 restrictions. 



In September 2020, Riverbank will issue an open call for five associate artists. We are seeking applications for this new support programme from artists and creatives from all genres including – but not limited to-  musicians, theatre-makers, writers, visual artists, dance artists, sound/lighting/set designers. The five professional artists and creatives selected will be awarded a cash bursary, support-in-kind and a working space (if required) and the option to take part in an activity or event in Spring 2021. 


Riverbank Arts Centre will partner with Kildare Library Service for the 11th annual KILDARE READERS’ FESTIVAL in October 2020.  The key literary events of the Festival weekend, likely to include the popular 10 Books You Should Read and the Sunday Morning Sessions, will be live-streamed from the Riverbank stage. 


Riverbank Arts Centre’s full programme will be announced in the coming weeks. For safety reasons, we will not be distributing a printed season brochure this September but the full programme will be available online and shared through our social media channels. Thanks to all our artists, collaborators, and audiences members for your patience, flexibility and support at this time. We’re in this together – we’ll make, share and enjoy art together soon.