Waterford Theatre Royal Society Chairman Eamonn Flavin has written to shareholders of the Society to advise that a Corporate Governance Sub Committee be established to examine the theatre’s Friendly Society structure and advise on its future.

They suggest that a Friendly Society vehicle, was appropriate to the amateur and philanthropic ethos of the 1950s when the Theatre was incorporated, no longer reflects the professional theatre that it is today.

This “governance also does not prescribe a level of accountability and transparency commensurate with an organisation in receipt of public monies’. Furthermore the Friendly Society vehicle ‘cannot be used to acquire Charitable Status”.

The proposal is that the Theatre Royal would disband its shareholders and change its status from ‘Friendly Society to a Limited Liability Company’.

The letter from Mr Flavin adds: “The Shareholders and the board of Directors have provided sterling and dedicated service to the theatre over the years. However, the disproportionate number of members and directors who are associated with amateur dramatic and musical societies, and with Waterford City Council, has resulted in a lack of balance in the shareholding and the board.”

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