'˜Funding gap' threat to Belfast's MAC theatre

The MAC in Belfast says it is facing a 'funding gap' despite the city council having agreed to stump up £40,000 for the centre just last month.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th December 2017, 3:35 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 3:41 pm

The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) was opened in the Cathedral Quarter in 2012 at a cost of almost £18m.

Belfast City Council is one of a number of organisations who fund the arts centre and, following a committee meeting in October, agreed at a full council meeting last month to provide £40,000 in additional funding.

Now, however, the MAC has admitted it still maintains a funding shortfall.

UUP councillor David Browne, however, has warned that while Belfast City Council does not wish to see the centre close, there is only so much money it can spend.

A spokesperson for the MAC, meanwhile, has said it will continue to “work closely” with “stakeholders” such as the Arts Council and the Department for Communities to address what they describe as “a short-term funding gap”.

The MAC also said it “generates an economic impact on the local economy of £9.7m per annum”.

Mr Browne said: “Sometimes because people can’t get money from Stormont they come to us, but we do not have infinite funds.”

He explained: “We got a report into us asking for money because they had a shortfall. There was nobody happy about agreeing to it (providing an extra £40,000), but we felt that we didn’t want to be responsible for the MAC closing.

“Like many other organisations who are doing a good job they find themselves in funding difficulties, but we can’t just continually fill in these shortfalls because we have only a finite amount of money.”