Support for theatre fund

Jul 4 2020 | By More

Theatre leaders’ positive response to £10M fund

The Scottish theatre sector has, unsurprisingly, welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of a £10 million Performing Arts Venues Relief fund for venues hit by the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

We’ve collated some of immediate Twitter responses to the announcement from a number of key theatre people and organisations (click the names to go to the original tweets).

#scenechange, a group set up to support designers through Covid-19 and help theatres bring shows back into production, wrapped the Lyceum up in pink hazard tape reading “Missing Live Theatre”. Pic: Peter Dibdin

As we reported yesterday, the fund aims to remove the threat of insolvency prior to the end of March 2021; allow for specialist and core staff to return from furlough or avoid redundancy to work on future sustainability plans; and increase the opportunities for commissioning and employment of freelance artists and creative practitioners.

David Greig, artistic director of the Lyceum, summed the general feeling up well.

“This is good news,” he said. “It’s a statement of faith in the value of theatre to Scottish audiences and it will help Scottish theatre and theatre makers get through these tough tough times and come out better.”

The Traverse welcomed the announcement as “a crucial moment of relief for the many organisations who will sit alongside us in renewed optimism for our sector’s survival.”


They added: “This lifeline is a vital endorsement and reinforcement of the crucial role that theatre and the arts play in our communities, economy and society – we extend thanks to Fiona Hyslop for this commitment to our sector.

“There is much to be done to ensure that no one is left behind, so we look forward to hearing more details of the fund and its ambitions to protect the Scottish theatre and performing arts ecology that is so vital to our communities here, UK-wide and internationally.”

The #scenechange wrap. Pic: Peter Dibdin

Fiona Gibson, the CEO of Capital Theatres said: “Thank you Nicola Sturgeon and Fiona Hyslop. We at Capital Theatres so appreciate both the investment in and the recognition of the value the performing arts bring to our wellbeing and our community.”

Those not directly expecting to benefit from the new fund were able to be more direct and, in some ways, political in their responses.

Here’s Fergus Linehan, artistic director of the Edinburgh International Festival: “This is what a proper response to an economic, social and cultural disaster looks like. Scotland’s brilliant venues will be in a stronger position to play their role in our national recovery.”

It was also a chance to show the real solidarity evident across the theatre community in Scotland.

The National Theatre of Scotland, for example, celebrated the news adding: “Our friends, associates and partners in theatre venues across Scotland are struggling with the ongoing critical situation caused by COVID-19, which has threatened their future and the livelihoods of their staff.

long and complex journey

“We understand that the survival of Scottish Theatre is a long and complex journey for all involved.

“Knowing that the Scottish Government continues to recognise the vital importance of the performing arts to public life is an important and reassuring starting point for the sector on this challenging road to recovery.”

The Lyceum wrapped up nicely by #scenechange. Pic: Peter Dibdin

It’s not just unity across Scotland. In her statement Hyslop added a call for a UK-wide support for the arts. This acknowledgment of a UK-wide need was echoed from the ground too.

Here’s James Mackenzie-Blackman, CEO at Eden Court: “Hey pals in other other UK nations. A whole heap of us Scottish ADs/EDs/CEOs spent time today acknowledging it would be emotionally tough for you to learn this lifeline news from Scotland today. We are with you all, we chatted about. Wanted you to know.”

One reason why the news is so welcome is that it isn’t confined to buildings. Here’s Birds of Paradise theatre company who declare themselves “ecstatic” at the news.

“This announcement will help steady our sector – BOP can’t wait to get back out amongst audiences, artists and the freelancers we work with. A massive thanks to Fiona Hyslop, Creative Scotland and everyone who has advocated to make this announcement possible.”

show of support

Theatre producer Callum Madge nails it, however: “While this £10m for Scottish theatre will surely get spent very quickly, I feel that symbolically it’s an invaluable show of support to the sector.”

But it is Paul Fitzpatrick for Imaginate who was the most succinct. Having hailed the “great news”, he simply says:

“This is significant. And a relief. THANK YOU.”


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