Dublin’s Gate to review harassment claims against former artistic director Michael Colgan

Michael Colgan, previous artistic director of Dublin's Gate Theatre Michael Colgan, former artistic director of Dublin's Gate Theatre
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The Gate Theatre in Dublin has announced an independent review into allegations of sexual harassment and bullying made against former artistic director Michael Colgan.

Seven former female employees have accused Colgan of inappropriate behaviour and reported instances of bullying and intimidation. He stepped down last year after more than 30 years leading the 371-seat venue.

The review will be led by rights commissioner Gaye Cunningham, who is expected to deliver her findings in January 2018.

A statement issued by the theatre’s board said: “We take extremely seriously the allegations and reports which have emerged over past weeks in relation to inappropriate behaviour and abuse of power by the former director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan.”

It added: “It is essential to the Gate’s culture, and its future, that anyone who works for it, or has any dealings with it, is treated with respect and is not subjected to harassment, bullying or discrimination of any type.”

The Gate’s announcement comes shortly after arts minister Heather Humphreys revealed she is to launch a series of workshops and “regional information days” on sexual harassment and bullying for senior staff and board members of arts organisations.

Humphreys is also expected to meet directors from leading theatres, including Colgan’s successor at the Gate, Selina Cartmell, and the Arts Council of Ireland within the next week to discuss the mounting scandal.

In an interview on RTE Radio, Arts Council chair Orlaith McBride said a “culture of fear” had existed during Colgan’s decades-long tenure at the Gate.

Claiming “the genie is out of the bottle”, she called on former staff to talk openly about their experiences and Colgan’s alleged misconduct.

Colgan could not be contacted by The Stage but is expected to release a statement in the coming days.

Any individuals wishing to contact the review being carrying out by Cunningham should contact cunninghamconfidential@outlook.ie.