Creative Scotland marks Year of Young People by cutting all three-year funding for children's theatre

Written by Tom Freeman on 25 January 2018 in News

Latest round of three-year funding by Creative Scotland announced, which sees cuts to children's theatre and Scottish Youth Theatre

Factory theatre - Kayla-Jane Barrie

Scotland's children's theatre companies have expressed disappointment after being dropped from Creative Scotland's three-year regular funding.

The Regular Funding Network 2018-21 consists of 116 organisations. Of those, 19 organisations have won new funding.

But children’s companies Catherine Wheels and Visible Fictions have been dropped from the list, leaving Scotland without a regularly-funded children's theatre company.

Scottish Youth Theatre, which engages young people across Scotland in making theatre, has also seen its funding cut.

In a statement, Catherine Wheels said: "Ironically, in the Year of Young People, Creative Scotland’s cuts mean there are now no regularly funded children’s theatre companies in Scotland."

A spokeswoman for the company said: "As Scotland’s most celebrated and prolific producer of children’s theatre we are devastated by Creative Scotland’s decision to cut our funding.

"Our company has been at the heart of establishing high-quality children’s theatre in Scotland, to a standard which has earned us, and Scotland, the reputation as world leaders in the field."

A spokeswoman for Visible Fictions said: "Our regular funded status has allowed us to build a robust infrastructure over the years, which in turn has enabled us to deliver high quality work to young audience’s all over Scotland and beyond."

A spokesperson for Scottish Youth Theatre said: "We live in a time of overwhelming evidence that the arts improve mental health and overall wellbeing; increase self-esteem and social engagement and develop meaningful skills for learning, life and work. Participation in youth theatre delivers all these benefits in abundance. SYT exists to ensure that children and young people have access to such life-changing experiences that will shape the people they will become.

"There is no doubt that this decision presents us with some serious challenges. We  need to act quickly and prudently to steady the ship once more and find a way to continue to offer these opportunities - especially in Scotland’s Year of Young People."

Regular funding has also been cut from two companies which work with disabled actors, Birds of Paradise and Lung Ha's.

Janet Archer, Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said she would not comment on individual awards, but said a new £2m Touring Fund for 2019/20 would help touring theatre companies.

“The network has been arrived at through a careful and thorough decision-making process involving staff across Creative Scotland and our Board. Regular Funding is a highly competitive application process where demand has once again, far outstripped available funding," she said.

"While we can’t support everyone, we seek to provide a range of different opportunities to access support across all of our funding routes, including Open Project and Targeted Funding."

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