The announcement of a new £10 million Scottish Government relief fund for performing arts venues has been welcomed.
The fund, announced by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop yesterday, was created as part of the Scottish Government’s £185m Business Support Fund to help venues who cannot yet reopen to their audiences due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.
It will be run by Creative Scotland.
Aberdeen Performing Arts, which runs His Majesty’s Theatre, the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree, welcomed the announcement.
The charity’s chief executive, Jane Spiers, said: “We warmly welcome the announcement today from the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, pledging support for performing arts venues, and we look forward to finding out more details of the scheme.
“When we closed our venues on March 16 and furloughed 280 staff, we lost over 88% of our income overnight for the foreseeable future.
“Over the last few weeks we have been battling insolvency, but we have never given up on protecting our workforce and on our determination to reopen our doors, bring our venues back to life and welcome back our loyal audiences to see work on our stages again.
“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing support from our audiences, with their donations and messages of support that have lifted the spirits of our team and kept us going. We cannot thank our team enough for their determination, dedication and hard work through these difficult months.
“We are not out of the woods yet, and it will be a while before we are back on our feet, but this gives us hope for the future.”
Ms 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 know the impact of this crisis will be long-term so ambitious action to support the future of these organisations, as well as our wider cultural infrastructure, is vital.
“We will continue to urge the UK Government to use their fiscal levers, such as significant borrowing powers, to back culture and creative industries with major investment.
“This will enable the Scottish Government to offer even more support to respond to this crisis and build for the future.”