Home Limerick People Interviews Audience support crucial to success of new Belltable

Audience support crucial to success of new Belltable

5 min read
The re-launch last week of the Belltable venue in the city centre is another step forward in terms of the positive development of Limerick’s cultural fabric. As we prepare for the final stage of the Limerick 2020 bid, this development is particularly meaningful.
This small, intimate venue has punched above its weight over the past few decades and, despite a momentary hiccup, continues to act as a venue close to the hearts of many across the city and county.
Marketa Dowling speaking at the launch of the Belltable

Marketa Dowling has taken on the role of programme manager at this exciting time in the venue’s history. In her previous role as General Manager and Producer at Fishamble Dowling took this iconic company through difficult times in terms of cultural funding and audience development. Her swansong, in some senses, was the remarkable achievement in picking up an Olivier award for the production of Silent.

Speaking to Dowling you get a strong sense that she is a dedicated team player. The collaboration seen at Fishamble that resulted in the Olivier award is testament to that.
Dowling says she is ‘humbled and privileged’ to be taking on the role of programme manager at the Belltable. She arrives into her new role with a vision to continue to develop the venue as a leading advocate of local and national art practitioners but also as a space that can attract many leading international artists to Limerick.
Most exciting is her plans to develop what she calls ‘Belltable: Connect’, an initiative that will see the former Sarsfield Credit Union Building acting a centre for artistic collaboration, mentorship and mentorship for local artists.
Dowling is deeply keen to develop a cultural space that allows artists to learn from, feed from and guide each other in their cultural practice. The Belltable will become a dynamic space not just for live performances and exhibitions but a space that aims to become the cultural hub of our city centre.

It is proven that clustering creative minds in one space allows the creative process to thrive. Dowling is a strong believer in the value of the artistic community and is clearly committed to facilitating the Limerick arts community in an open, energetic and collaborative space.

Dowling will be supported well by the new board of the Belltable. The coming together of our various cultural practitioners over the past few years should also make her role that bit easier. There is a great sense that people want culture in its various forms to thrive in this city.
As the Belltable looks towards what should prove to be a very dynamic period of rebirth it is crucial that audiences now give it a chance. Whilst funding conversations are often had in terms of Arts Council of local authority funding what is often overlooked is the vital role committed audiences play in sustaining our cultural venues and community.
If Limerick 2014 showed anything is showed there is an audience out there. Now it is time for that audience to support and encourage the Belltable in its new guise.

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