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Scottish arts venue Comar appoints Alasdair McCrone as acting chief executive in redundancy U-turn

Alasdair McCrone was the creative director of theatre and dance at Comar Alasdair McCrone was the creative director of theatre and dance at Comar
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Mull-based arts venue Comar has appointed Alasdair McCrone as acting chief executive, just four months after it emerged he was being made redundant from the organisation.

He replaces Caroline Winn, who has been in the post for three and a half years, overseeing the creation of the organisation through the merger of the Tobermory arts centre An Tobar and Mull Theatre in 2013.

Comar attracted controversy in July when it announced that McCrone, creative director of theatre and dance, and Gordon Maclean, creative director of music and literature, would be made redundant, in a move to save money and merge its three artistic director posts into one.

The current creative director of exhibitions, Sion Parkinson, was expected to take over this merged role, but has announced that he will now be leaving Comar to move back to the mainland. He has been with Comar for two and a half years.

Maclean, who managed An Tobar before the merger, will remain in post and McCrone will add the chief executive role to his existing work.

Comar has been struggling since Creative Scotland’s Autumn 2014 funding round, from which it received only 71% of the funding requested.

After the July announcement, a public meeting elected an unofficial “shadow board” to put pressure on the existing board, from which several members had already resigned. Subsequently a transition board was formed, with input from all sides.

Commenting on the moves, Roger Lewis, chair of the Comar transition board, said: “The board is enormously grateful to Caroline and Sion for their hard work in articulating and driving the creative vision of the organisation. We wish both of them every success in future.”

A new permanent board for the organisation is expected to be formed next week, at the Comar Supporter Members’ meeting on December 7. It will be responsible for guiding the organisation in future including the delivery of a sustainable model across artistic content and operations.

Comar is also keen to hear from those who might be interested in joining the new board to help shape the future of the organisation.

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