ScotGov commits to theatre

Jun 29 2020 | By More

Clear statements from Culture Sec & FM

Economy and Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said she is “actively working on the case” of theatre recovery post Covid-19 during the First Minister’s press conference on Friday 26 June 2020.

Hyslop acknowledged that long term support will be required for the whole theatre sector, including both its institutions and workers. She has been talking to industry body the Federation of Scottish Theatres, as well as the finance minister.

Fiona Hyslop at the press briefing on Friday 26 June 2020

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was unequivocal in her support, adding: “A Scotland without a flourishing arts and culture sector is not a Scotland any of us would want to see, so there is a real commitment here on behalf of the government.”

The remarks came in an answer to a question about Horsecross Arts, from Tay Radio’s Alan Smith. On Friday, Horsecross added Perth Theatre and Concert Hall to the theatres entering redundancy negotiations, which already included the Lyceum and Pitlochry.

The Horsecross CEO had said that, without financial support, he couldn’t see there being a future for the arts sector in Scotland.

“There will definitely be a future for the arts sector in Scotland,” Hyslop replied. “I am determined that that will be the case,” observing that theatres and concert venues closed earlier and will re-open later than other venues.

She said that there had already been some financial support for Scottish theatres, through the pivotal resilience fund which “recognises important institutions in Scotland” for some venues, such as Inverness’s Eden Court and Aberdeen Arts, as well as the furlough scheme.

longer term support will be required

She recognised that this support will not be enough, saying: “This morning I had discussions with the finance secretary indicating what room to manoeuvre there might be in terms of resourcing what we understand will be a longer term support that will be required for the theatre sector particularly – and indeed music venues in Scotland.

“And not just the institutions themselves, it’s all the workforce, the freelancers that go with that.”

While not being able to give an instant response about Horsecross, she said she is actively working on the case.

She said: “I am absolutely determined that we will have a flourishing theatre sector and an arts sector that will be something that we can all look forward to when we come through this very very difficult period for them – as well as for all the individuals and families personally effected by Covid.”

The FM added her support, saying: “Arts and culture – and that includes theatre but it’s much broader than that – is not just really important to our economy and to our international reputation; a flourishing arts and culture sector is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our country.”

tough discussions and tough decisions

However, she warned that while the theatre sector has her full support, there are still a lot of difficult issues to sort out.

“I don’t underestimate the difficulty of the challenges,” she said. “There’ll be some tough discussions and tough decisions along the way.

“But the government is full square behind not just our theatre sector but arts and culture generally because it is such a fundamentally important part of our country and who we are as a country.

“I think it’s important that that message goes out to the sector right now.”

Last Monday, June 22, the Scottish Government’s advisory group on recovery from the Covid crisis recognised the importance of the culture sector and the role it has to play in recovery. And on Wednesday, the makeup and remit of the National Partnership for Culture was announced.


News: Culture element to economic revival post-covid.
News: Economic recovery: Culture Sub Cttee Report
News: National Partnership for Culture


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