A number of theatre professionals, including actors, directors, producers and agents, have written to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Arts, Joespha Madigan, to highlight what they say are "grave concerns" about the Abbey Theatre.

Hundreds of theatre practitioners signed a letter last January expressing concerns about a number of issues at the Abbey, including the number of 'bought in' productions, and employment opportunities. 

A series of meetings then took place between representatives of the signatories and the theatre. 

However in their latest letter, the theatre professionals said the Abbey's recently released 2020 programme only offers 38 opportunities for 2020, the lowest figure yet, and they do not believe it addresses any of the issues outlined in the initial letter. 

In a separate letter, The Writers' Guild of Ireland has told the Chair of the Abbey Theatre Board that the artistic directors of the theatre have acted in "bad faith" by failing to programme significant amounts of new Irish writing on the theatre stage.

WGI chair Thomas McLaughlin said the 2020 programme mentions only one new play - by Marina Carr - and nine plays to be workshopped over six weeks.

He described this as a "completely unacceptable" output for the national theatre and said the WGI would expect the Abbey to produce annually a minimum of ten new plays, in house, each of which would run for at least four weeks.

In a statement the Abbey Theatre said that following a process of dialogue with the signatories of the letter sent in January, it set out 17 agreed actions and that all of those are now complete. 

These include the appointment of a casting director, head of costume, and a survey on the theatre's communications with the industry.

The theatre said it has devoted considerable time to the dialogue process and the meetings, and implemented significant changes to address the concerns of the theatre community.