The daughter of famous former Olympia theater owner Gerry Sinnott called for rethinking the venue’s name change as she called it “cultural vandalism”.
he historic Olympia Theater was renamed 3Olympia Theater, following the announcement of an eight-year sponsorship with mobile phone company Three Ireland, with signage at the venue now reading ‘3Olympia Theater’.
However, the ornate glass roof of the theater’s glass porch, which bears his name, remains unchanged in the new branding.
Tara Sinnott told Independent.ie she spent two hours crying after learning of the theater’s name change.
The late Gerry owned and ran the Olympia for almost 20 years and was respected for reshaping musical theater and finding some of Ireland’s biggest stars.
âI was so upset when I heard,â Tara said. âI’m always emotional about it all, it’s the people’s theater.
âMy father ruled the theater for 20 years, he owned it but said he was the keeper and would make the theater the same or better condition.
âEven though he had it, he felt it was the theater of Ireland. And several times over the years the theater has struggled – it was not funded by the government …
âAll the money for the theater came from the shows. My father was never about money, he was interested in theater, entertainment and giving to people …
âA historic place and its name must be protected. The Olympia Theater has been the name for 98 years.
“The owners had a duty to protect his heritage, the name should never have been on the table.”
Tara said her father, who died in October 2019, had, during his tenure at the helm, received sponsorship from various companies, including Heineken. This led to a bar in the theater being called “The Heineken Bar”, but her father would never have changed the name of the theater, she added.
Tara noted that her father believed theater was a cultural possession of the people and that he would not have supported a corporate addition to the name.
She explained how Gerry had successfully campaigned for VAT to be removed from theater ticket prices in 1984, to make access more affordable for all theatergoers.
âDad didn’t want theater for the rich, he wanted everyone to be able to afford to go to the theater, that’s the kind of man my dad was,â Tara said.
Gerry was also the first in Ireland to receive a night permit.
âMy dad wrestled a few times over the years, but he did other things like Midnight at Olympia and children’s shows. everything to preserve the name, âsaid Tara.
“It’s such a wonderful place, it means so much to people,” she added.
âPeople are so emotional about this (name change.) And that was my childhood.
âI grew up in this theater, everything I learned, I learned thereâ¦ These companies put their name on historical and cultural buildings and it smacks of culture.ndalism.
She called on Three Ireland to ‘listen’ and ‘read the play’, ‘hug the people of Dublin and change that’.
“I’m not letting this go, my father would literally be turning in his grave right now.”
The facade and historic glass roof of the Olympia will remain largely unchanged, but the new title and branding are mostly above the box office.
The mobile phone company said the partnership will support reopening the site after it closed during the pandemic.
The agreement will initially last eight years. Tara was also concerned about this, stating that she felt there was a risk that many company names would be featured in the future.
Three sponsors already 3Arena, Electric Picnic and Longitude. The company said the new partnership would provide support for the Irish music scene emerging from lockdown.
At the launch, Caroline Downey, MCD’s director of promoters and owner of Olympia, said the 18-month shutdown has been difficult for the live entertainment industry and that the investment and partnership is key to helping the site to reopen.
Independent.ie sought comments from Three Ireland and also reached out to Ms Downey.