Professional performing arts industry body, the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) today warmly welcomed the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture’s announcement of a £10 million fund to help secure the future of live theatre and dance in Scotland.
FST’s members have been hit hard by Covid-19. International tours were cancelled from the start of the year and by mid-March all theatres and arts centres were closed to protect the public. Throughout the lockdown FST members have stayed in touch with their audiences by streaming work, offering dance classes online and contacting vulnerable and isolated audience members to offer support. However almost all earned income, representing around 70% of turnover across FST’s membership, has ceased and physical distancing means future income is under severe threat.
Rhona Matheson, Co-Chair of FST and the CEO of Starcatchers, Scotland’s national arts and early years organisation, said: ‘We are delighted by the scale of this investment in the future of theatre and dance in Scotland. The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund will benefit our sector ecosystem, helping to secure jobs and livelihoods wherever possible all over the country. We are particularly grateful to Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture for her understanding of the challenges we face and for her work in securing this support.’
Liam Sinclair, Co-Chair of FST and Executive Director & Joint CEO of Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre Limited said: ‘We know that pressure on public budgets is huge and we profoundly appreciate Scottish Government’s recognition of the importance of live performing arts in people’s lives. Our members make a difference here in Scotland and around the world and this investment is an essential element in helping us all to build back better.’
Jude Henderson, Director of FST, said: ‘FST has been working hard since day one to make the case for our industry. Today’s important announcement represents a fraction of the amount of the income lost to the sector this year and we look forward to working closely with Scottish Government and Creative Scotland on the next steps and phasing of this funding. We need to make sure that every pound counts as we rebuild a thriving theatre and dance sector which tells all of Scotland’s stories.’