Scottish Youth Theatre awarded Scottish Government bail out

Written by Tom Freeman on 20 March 2018 in News

Scottish Government provide emergency funding for Scottish Youth Theatre after Creative Scotland drop regular funding

SYT referendum play - credit Douglas Robertson

The Scottish Government is to bail out Scotland’s national youth theatre arts organisation to prevent it from closing down this summer.

Scottish Youth Theatre had faced closure after regular funding was refused by Creative Scotland in January.

Ministers said emergency funding of £150,000 would be in place this year to give the company time to move to a sustainable model.

It has been matched by a further £150,000 in private sector support, including financial services firm Baillie Gifford.

It is thought the funding was secured after an intervention by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and is the second time central government has bailed out the company after it lost out on Creative Scotland funding.

Alex Salmond had announced £1m funding over three years in 2014 after Creative Scotland dropped its foundation funding scheme.

Sturgeon tweeted: “Delighted that Scottish government funding will help secure the immediate future of @ScottishYT - this allows the theatre to continue its good work and give time for dialogue about a longer term funding plan with changes that will extend the reach and accessibility of its programmes.”

Jacky Hardacre, Scottish Youth Theatre’s Chief Executive said: “With a future now secured for Scottish Youth Theatre, our focus is firmly on ensuring the nation’s young people have their own thriving national theatre company to engage with, be inspired by and to aspire to be a part of.

“This solution would not be possible without the support from Baillie Gifford and a number of private sector organisations and individuals. Furthermore, the First Minister and cabinet secretary have shown a great willingness to explore every option for Scottish Youth Theatre and we are very grateful for their time and efforts and their clear commitment to youth arts in Scotland.”

Scottish Youth Theatre was set up in 1977 and runs an annual summer school attended by children and young people from across Scotland. Alumni include Gerard Butler, Kate Dickie, Karen Gillan and KT Tunstall.  

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Youth Theatre has supported many young actors and other theatre professionals to find their voice and launch their careers. There was widespread concern about the announcement that the theatre was facing closure due to its financial position.

“This funding from partners will allow the theatre to maintain its work, and complete the ongoing positive changes to their business. It will also give time for further dialogue about a longer-term funding strategy.

“I have set out this offer to the Scottish Youth Theatre, and I have encouraged them to continue exploring all options available to secure a more permanent funding solution. I have also discussed with them their continuing ambitions to improve the reach, depth and quality of Scottish Youth Theatre’s work across Scotland, and how this funding will help them towards that goal.”

A Creative Scotland spokesperson said: “We always welcome new funding from the Scottish Government for culture. We are also continuing our discussions with Scottish Youth Theatre regarding potential ways in which we can support their work in the future.”

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