Council to spend £3,000 on Artistic Board review

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Newtownabbey Council has agreed to spend more than £3,000 on hiring a consultant to review the procedures and governance arrangements relating to its Artistic Board.

At their January council meeting, a majority of members voted for a DUP motion calling for a review of the board and its procedures. The party brought the proposal following a bitter row over the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s controversial comedy ‘The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)’.

A two-night run of the play at Theatre at The Mill was axed after DUP members and some church representatives branded it “blasphemous” and “offensive”. But it was later reinstated by the Artistic Board following a public outcry against “political censorship.”

At this month’s Leisure Committee meeting, members approved, without debate, hiring a consultant, at an estimated cost of £3,000 plus expenses, to carry out the review.

If that decision is ratified by full council on March 31, the review will go ahead, focussing specifically on the role, operational procedures, governance and membership of the board.

The consultant’s findings are expected to be submitted to the June Leisure Committee meeting.