Funding commitments from the Scottish and UK Government will remove the imminent threat of closure venues across the country were facing
Scotland’s arts and cultural sector has received a much needed financial boost.
Arts venues have been appealing for months that they need funding to survive, with little prospect of shows or concerts being held in the coming months.
And the sector received the news it has been waiting on this weekend. On Friday afternoon (3 July), the Scottish Government revealed it will provide £10m to support performing arts venues.
And this was backed up this morning (6 July), with the UK Government announcing a £1.57bn support package to help protect the futures of UK theatres, galleries, museums and other cultural venues. Around £97m of this fund will be handed over to Scotland as devolved funding.
Iain Munro, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: "We welcome this £10m from the Scottish Government which will provide a critical injection of cash to help meet the immediate needs of Performing Arts venues in Scotland which have been so badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It is significant, welcome and demonstrates the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to culture but we also recognise that organisations and individuals working across the wider cultural sector are facing extremely challenging circumstances which, in some cases, threaten their long-term viability.
"We will therefore continue to work closely with both the Scottish Government and other partners to explore every possible avenue for further support.”
The Tron Theatre in Glasgow received £76,000 from the Scottish Government’s initial support for the sector through the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund (PERF) which helped thousands of businesses across the country.
Andy Arnold, artistic director at The Tron, said: “This new dedicated fund is welcome news and should provide a morale boost to Scottish theatre and I hope will give a financial life line in the short term to many vital cultural organisations.
“Tron Theatre is also extremely grateful for the PERF award we received which will enable us to prepare our venue for re-opening and re-establishing our creative programme.”
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our theatres and performing arts venues and the talented freelancers who work with them are an essential part of the fabric of Scotland’s culture and communities and promote our international reputation, and we are determined that they will survive and be able to thrive again.
“We reacted quickly to help culture and the creative industries from the earliest days of this pandemic, including through the £120m Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, which is unique to Scotland. This new fund is the next step.
“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.
“As we navigate our way through the pandemic, we know physical distancing is vital to ensuring that we do not see a second wave of infections, but we recognise the difficulties this presents for those in performing arts. This dedicated fund will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm. We are also actively considering support for grassroots music venues.”
Westminster culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.
“I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”