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Grant Thornton report finds no record of RTÉ Board approving Toy Show Musical
25 Jan 2024 : Luke Shanahan
Grant Thornton’s investigation into the Toy Show musical, which made a total loss of €2,272,859, found that the production did not receive a written approval from the RTÉ Board.

A report from Grant Thornton into The Toy Show musical has been published today. The musical was released in the Convention Centre in Dublin in 2022, and amassed losses of over €2.2million.

Grant Thornton’s investigation into the Toy Show musical found no written record of the RTÉ Board ever granting approval for the musical. The minutes of the board’s meetings show no approval by way of the outcome of a vote, or a consensus reached.

The report found that the board was never formally asked for a decision to proceed with Toy Show The Musical, and that there was no formal consideration by the board until after a contract was signed with the Convention Centre venue for the musical.

The report also found that the recording of the show's sponsorship money was "not in line with generally accepted accounting practices", and furthermore there was "no objective justification" for the way a figure of €75,000 was recorded, leading to an overstating of sponsorship revenue.

Grant Thornton found no monetary gain or loss caused to RTÉ arising from how this money was accounting, stating however:

"I find that this does not take away from the fact that Toy Show The Musical sponsorship revenue was overstated by €75,000 and spot revenue was understated by €75,000 in the books and records for the year ending 31 December 2022."

In February 2023, a report to the RTÉ Board stated that event sponsorship for the musical was €120,000. By July 2023 that figure lowered to €45,000. Grant Thorton’s report found additional costs of €69,628 that were not previously included in the musical’s reported figures. This brings the total loss of Toy Show The Musical to €2,272,859.

Grant Thornton concluded that the musical would have struggled to break even based on the planned number of shows:

"In respect of ticket sales, my analysis identifies that at no point in time were there more than 35 shows on sale to the public."

“I find that the actual levels of ticket sales and this reduced number of shows represented a significant risk that Toy Show The Musical would not break even." 

According to the report, former Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes was unable to participate in the review for medical reasons. A draft of the report was sent to Ms Forbes’ solicitor for comment.

"Ms Forbes was unable to review and comment on or instruct her solicitor to respond to the draft report for medical reasons," the report states.

The report’s author states that Dee Forbes was the only director at RTÉ he did not interact with.

There is reference to a ‘Combo Meeting’ in the report, in which a selection of directors, external consultants and some members of the RTÉ Executive discussed Toy Show the Musical, however this was not a meeting of the Board of Directors of RTÉ.

Some directors have described oral presentations about the musical being presented as a "briefing", with others commenting that there was little interrogation of financials and audience numbers, and some board members acknowledging more questions should have been asked about the show.

The report states "I have found no evidence that at the relevant time members of the RTÉ Board raised this issue of approval."

Siún Ní Raghallaigh, Chair of the RTÉ Board, has said in a statement: “The Board acknowledged the serious deficiencies now highlighted in the Report at a Board meeting last July and has since taken the necessary steps to ensure there is no repeat of these failures.”

The full report can be found here.

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