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State of Play: A new research study by FST launches today

Today, Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) launches State of Play, a national research study profiling the Performing Arts sector in Scotland.  Results of the study will give FST and wider cultural policy-makers and planners crucial information on the health of the performing arts that will inform future actions, priorities and critical advocacy.

The impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts sector has been significant. Productions and performances were cancelled or postponed indefinitely; venues were forced to close their doors and have only been able to partially re-open under strict social distancing and other mitigations. This has had a devastating impact on the community of freelance professionals working in the performing arts, as well as employees and the wide range of people whose livelihoods are reliant on industry business models exposed as deeply unstable. Audiences and participants were deprived of the important personal and community benefits that the performing arts bring. But the sector has also shown great resilience and determination, pivoting to making work in different ways, supporting their communities as they coped with the pandemic, and keeping their businesses and practice going, despite facing great adversity.

State of Play is part of FST’s current development of a strategy for Scottish Theatre and Dance to address the changes needed to make the sector more sustainable in economic, environmental and human terms. The strategy will be a call to action and a map for change by and for the professional theatre and dance sector in Scotland. We don’t yet know what recovery from the damaging impacts of COVID will mean for the social, economic and cultural landscape of Scotland. State of Play will provide a rigorous evidence base to help inform what’s needed and what’s possible when planning for the future.

FST is calling on everyone who works and volunteers in the professional Performing Arts in Scotland to contribute to the research and make a real difference in demonstrating the sector’s needs, and improving how the performing arts are funded and supported.

The research has two key parts:

·   The Workforce Survey, completed by individuals working in the performing arts, aims to provide a profile of sector demographics; employment trends and issues; and give crucial information on people’s experience of working and volunteering in the performing arts. 

·   The Economy and Engagement Survey, completed by organisations, aims to provide a clear profile of the sector’s scale, structure, reach and productivity as well as economic information and the trends and issues facing it.

·   The Workforce Survey is live from 4 – 31 August 2021, The Economy and Engagement Survey will be live from mid-August

For all media enquiries, contact Helen Eragona at Federation of Scottish Theatre: Helen.eragona@scottishtheatre.org