Lifeline funding deals for Scottish theatres and arts venues revealed

Scottish theatres and arts venues have been handed up to £750,000 to help stave off the threat of going insolvent and having to cut jobs.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh has been handed a £750,000 lifeline. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic
The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh has been handed a £750,000 lifeline. Picture: Mihaela Bodlovic

The £7.5 million in funding, which is being shared among 20 different arts organisations, is expected to help pay for some of Scotland’s live events to take place while social distancing restrictions are still in place.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, Horsecross Arts, which runs Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness and Aberdeen Performing Arts, which runs His Majesty's Theatre, the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree, all received the maximum bail-outs from the Scottish Government fund.

Dundee Rep, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, the Tramway arts centre and Tron Theatre in Glasgow, the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling all received more than £400,000 each.

Dundee Rep has been awarded nearly 500,000 from the 'relief fund' set up to help arts venues.

Key aims of the funding are to help being staff back off furlough, commissioning new projects and helping to pay for the first live events to go ahead when restrictions are eased. Outdoor events may be allowed to go ahead by the end of this month, while indoor events could resume in mid-September.

Other multi-arts centres receiving a share of £7.5m announced by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government include An Lanntair arts centre, in Stornoway, Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock, the CCA in Glasgow and The Barn in Aberdeenshire.

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All the recipients of the lifeline support already receive long-term funding from arts agency Creative Scotland, which handled the applications for the new fund. It emerged last week that an additional £2.5m had been allocated to the fund, bringing the total available to £12.5 million.

The remainder of the fund is available to venues and arts organisations which are not currently part of Creative Scotland’s “regular funding” programme. However key criteria is that they must have charitable status and must be either local authority owned or run.

A separate fund worth £2.2m has been created by the Scottish Government to help grassroots music venues withstand the impact of the pandemic, while £10m has been ringfenced to support the events sector.

Creative Scotland chief executive Iain Munro said: “There are significant challenges facing Scotland’s culture sector, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

"This funding for performing arts venues is much needed and will help organisations tackle these challenges but we are aware that budgets are finite and it is not possible to provide financial assistance to every organisation through this route at this time.“The Covid-19 emergency funds announced for the culture sector so far are not, by any means, the end of the support to be offered and there will be more announcements to come, not least in terms of how the £97m Scotland has received for culture and heritage as a result of the UK Government’s funding package is to be applied.

"The precise nature of this is still being determined and, beyond what has already been made available, Creative Scotland is working closely with the Scottish Government to actively discuss further support for the culture sector, including for those who may not have received funding previously.”

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Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Theatres and performing arts venues are vital to individuals, communities and our country.

"Our performing arts venues effectively had to close overnight, with an almost complete loss of income. There is no doubt that in doing so they saved lives, and for that I am extremely grateful.

“We know the impact of this crisis will be long-term so ambitious action to support the future of these organisations, as well as our wider cultural infrastructure, is key. This funding will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm.”

A statement from Mike Griffiths and David Greig, joint chief executive at the Royal Lyceum, said: “

This is the first step on our journey to re-opening The Lyceum after our period of hibernation. It is a chance for us to embrace new approaches to our work, engage our community in new and accessible ways, and prepare the theatre for our changed world. Consultation will recommence with unions to ensure we retain as many posts as possible, and I am delighted that this award will allow us to start bringing our brilliant, talented staff back from furlough to develop new ways of working in our venue, online and in new spaces. As we begin the work of re-opening, and creating a programme for our audiences, we will also be engaging a host of freelance artists and creative practitioners who are the lifeblood of theatre and who have been hit so hard by the pandemic.

"We are now exploring ways to bring a re-imagined new programme of participation, plays and creative learning to Edinburgh, and look forward to announcing this work soon.”

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A statement from the CCA in Glasgow said: “

his fund allows us to safeguard jobs at CCA until at least March, giving us some much needed time to build a new and resilient business model to take us through 2021 and beyond.

"The fund will also allow us to carefully restart some events at CCA, bringing performances and live art back for our audiences in a covid secure environment, whilst also creating work opportunities for our freelance colleagues.”

A statement from Dundee Rep said: “

Our Dundee and Tayside audiences are incredibly loyal to us, and this funding will allow us to create a bespoke programme of work for them to engage with while current restrictions mean we cannot stage performances for larger audiences in our main auditorium and on tour.

"The programme we have designed is also explicitly intended to create significant paid opportunities for freelance artists and practitioners and we look forward to working with them to deliver this programme in the coming months.”

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FULL BREAKDOWN OF LIFELINE FUNDING AWARDS

Aberdeen Performing Arts: £750,000

An Lanntair: £100,000

Beacon Arts Centre: £114,000

CCA: Centre for Contemporary Arts: £214,500

Citizens Theatre: £100,000

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Comar: £119,000

Dance Base: £256,200

Dundee Repertory Theatre: £480,907

Eden Court: £750,000

Horescross Arts: £749,900

Macrobert Arts Centre: £485,213

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Pitlochry Festival Theatre: £400,000

Platform: £75,400

Royal Lyceum Theatre Company: £750,000

Shetland Arts: £247,582

The Barn: £105,000

The Storytelling Centre: £213,000

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Tramway: £549,000

Traverse Theatre: £500,000

Tron Theatre: £499,849

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