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Ayr Gaiety and Edinburgh Fringe receive 100% cuts in Scottish funding round

Ayr Gaiety Theatre. Photo: Guy Hinks Ayr Gaiety Theatre. Photo: Guy Hinks
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Ayr Gaiety Theatre and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are among organisations to receive 100% cuts to their regular funding from Creative Scotland.

The public body today (January 25, 2018) announced 116 organisations that will receive a total of £99 million in funding between 2018 and 2021 as part of its Regular Funding Network.

Ayr Gaiety, which had a third of its local council funding cut in March 2017, causing its its owners to fear closure, will now lose out on £75,000 a year from Creative Scotland.

Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe previously received £210,000 over the 2015-18 period.

All organisations that have previously benefited from regular funding, but who are not part of the 2018-21 network, will be offered transition funding for six months to the end of September 2018.

Five touring theatre companies will not have their regular funding renewed: Mischief La-Bas, Catherine Wheels, Fire Exit, Rapture Theatre and Visible Fictions. These will all receive 12 months’ transition funding to take current funding levels to the end of March 2019.

Other performing arts organisations to receive 100% cuts to their regular funding include Edinburgh’s Festival and King’s Theatre, which previously received £310,000, and site-specific event company NVA, which previously received £450,000.

Dance company Janice Parker Projects and Lung Ha’s Theatre Company were also dropped from the regular funding network.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Festival Fringe said the organisation was “extremely disappointed” not to be included in the regular funding programme.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:The Fringe generates over £170m a year for the Scottish economy but receives less than 5% of its funding from the public sector.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the Fringe is one of Scotland’s greatest cultural exports – helping Scotland punch well above its weight in terms of cultural influence, artistic excellence and creativity – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is globally recognised and valued.”

She added: “We will continue to work with Creative Scotland to ensure that Scotland’s national agency for the arts supports and values the Fringe.”

A spokeswoman from Festival and King’s Theatre said: “Although our application for regular funding was judged as strong in most of the assessment categories, and was recommended for funding by the assessor, ultimately our application was unsuccessful. The assessment made particular mention of the strength of our international programme of work and the quality of our management team.

“While we are extremely disappointed by this decision we will continue to work with Creative Scotland and our many other partners to bring the best national and international work to our stages.”

Imaginate Theatre, which will continue to receive £1.9 million over the three years from Creative Scotland, condemned cuts to Catherine Wheels and Visible Fiction, saying it was a “huge blow for the sector”.

A spokesman for Imaginate Theatre said: “These companies have helped build Scotland’s reputation for excellence in the young audience sector and they are now being put in a position where they will struggle to create work. It is bad news for them and consequently bad news for us. In the Year of Young People, Scotland is now the only country in Europe without any fully funded theatre company for children.”

The Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh has seen its regular funding increase by 21% bringing it to £3,630,000 over the three year period, compensating for a 17% cut in the previous funding round. Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, which also had its funding cut in 2015-18, has not received a funding increase and will continue to receive £866,667 per year.

Plans have also been announced for a new £2 million strategic touring fund, with support from the National Lottery, to support performing arts touring in 2019-20.

Janet Archer, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “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 added: “We are developing a new £2 million Touring Fund for 2019/20, with support from the National Lottery, as part of our Targeted Funds. This will support touring companies to work with venues to grow audiences, offering a further alternative route to funding for performing arts organisations not included in the Regular Funding Network.”

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