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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
RTÉ The broadcaster lost more than €2.2 million from the project.
It is what it is

Chair of RTÉ board says there was a 'lapse of control' around the Toy Show Musical

The Board took a “fait accompli” approach to the project, despite knowing its failings.

CHAIR OF THE RTÉ Board Siún Ní Raghallaigh said there was a “lapse of control” around ‘Toy Show The Musical’ which led to RTÉ bosses failing to pull the production.

New documents of a meeting between the Board in July, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that there was no risk assessment carried out for the production, which ended in RTÉ losing €2.2 million.

The production, which sold only 11,044 of the over 90,000 tickets it had to sell to meet its €3.215 million revenue target. However, after half of the shows were cancelled due to the cast and crew falling ill, the production only generated €495,961 in revenue.

Minutes from the meeting on 3 July, held amidst the RTÉ payments scandal, show that Ní Raghallaigh noted that the lack of a risk assessment “showed a weakness in board controls” and labelled the losses “stark”.

The Board agreed they themselves should have done “more stress testing of the project”. The minutes also revealed there was “no formal approval process”, by the Board, to allow these projects to go ahead.

A breakdown of costs associated with the musical, which the July meeting reveals was to “derive additional commercial income, shows, in total, €2,699,193 was spent on the production.

Almost half of the cost went towards hiring the Convention Centre venue, and “show-running costs” while just over half a million was spent on creative team and management costs.

Over €369,000 went on rehearsal costs and €156,020 was spent on marketing and press.

Despite the Board admitting it was aware of the revenue the project was losing, it noted that it failed to halt the production. This was because it viewed the project as “a fait accompli” – or they felt there was no option but to let it continue despite its failures.

Adrian Lynch, who was serving as acting-Director General of the broadcaster at the time, said the project had the support of the previous chair, Moya Doherty.

The current-chair, Ní Raghallaigh immediately noted that there was a “lapse of control” and “lack of rigorous interrogation” by the Board over this issue, and that the Executive Board should have provided a risk assessment.

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