Leading stars of stage and screen have spoken out over the prospect of Scottish Youth Theatre having to close down within months.
Outlander’s Sam Heughan, Game of Thrones actress Kate Dickie and Gregory’s Girl favourite John Gordon Sinclair have all thrown their weight behind efforts to reprieve the long-running company.
Morven Christie, star of Grantchester, The A Word and Doctor Who, actress and Deacon Blue singer Lorraine McIntosh and Taggart star Colin McCredie are among other high-profile figures to urge a rethink over its fate.
Scottish Youth Theatre announced on Wednesday night that it would be winding up within months after being turned down for long-term funding by Creative Scotland.
The arts quango, which has already been forced to over-turn funding cuts for a number of other companies in the wake of widespread outcry, has said the company lost out after a “competitive process”, but has insisted it has been discussing alternative funding options.
Sinclair posted on social media a letter he has written to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop urging her to ask Creative Scotland to rethink its decision on Scottish Youth Theatre’s application for support.
He told her: “I know there are constraints on budgets and difficult decisions have to be made, but this is an investment in the youth of today that will keep paying back in the Scotland of tomorrow.”
Dickie said: “Bloody hell, I’ve just heard about SYT. Creative Scotland what a disservice you are doing to young people looking for a pathway into drama, regardless of background or location. Your bizarre statement removing yourself from any responsibility for this decision just doesn’t wash.”
Christie posted on Twitter: “I literally cannot articulate my disgust for Creative Scotland. How much longer, how much more destruction, how many more denials of responsibility as Scotland’s arts disintegrate? I don’t understand how these idiots are still functioning. The ineptitude is staggering.”
Heughan told his 431,000 Twitter followers: “This is so sad. Nurturing talent and promoting youth theatre and growth in talent should be a priority.”
McIntosh said: “I grew up in a town where there was no chance of going to anything like the SYT. It was the biggest joy in the lives of many and should continue to be . What kind of country has no youth theatre?”
A new statement from Scottish Youth Theatre said: “We’re overwhelmed by all of the kind words and messages of support that we have received over the past 24 hours.
“Were making our way through the messages and offers of support we’ve received and want to say a massive thanks to everyone.”