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Controversial £2m touring fund for Scotland is launched

Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell Creative Scotland acting chief executive Iain Munro. Photo: Drew Farrell
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A controversial £2 million touring fund from Creative Scotland has now opened for applications.

The fund for theatre and dance is a collaboration between Creative Scotland and the Federation of Scottish Theatre.

It was initially announced alongside Creative Scotland’s portfolio of regularly funded organisations in January, which saw seven out of 11 touring companies in the portfolio have their funding cut entirely.

In an opinion piece for The Stage, Scotland correspondent Thom Didbin said it was of “major concern” that the new touring fund had not been thought of or announced when organisations were filling in their RFO applications.

Dibdin said this was an “unacceptable moving of goalposts” that was compounded by “a complete failure to communicate the reasoning behind its change, or understand the need to explain that reasoning.”

Following an outcry, Creative Scotland reinstated five of the theatre companies it had cut from its portfolio, including Catherine Wheels and Lung Ha.

Now the £2 million touring fund has opened for applications, with any Scottish artist or arts organisation, including those in receipt of regular funding, able to apply.

The funding will go towards the making and touring of new work or the restaging of previous work for touring to a minimum of 12 locations across Scotland over a maximum two-year period.

The deadline for applications is November 6, with a further round of applications to open early in 2019.

Decisions will be made by a panel of five members from the touring dance and theatre sector and up to four Creative Scotland staff.

The sector panel members will be recruited by an open call process and selected by Creative Scotland, Federation of Scottish Theatre and sector representatives. Membership of the panel will be for set periods and new members will be regularly recruited.

Creative Scotland will hold pre-application information surgeries across Scotland, with dates to be announced.

Iain Munro, Creative Scotland acting chief executive, said: “This is an extremely important and exciting new development that will generate more opportunities for high quality theatre in Scotland to flourish and for more people across the country to experience and enjoy it.”

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