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Perth Theatre and Concert Hall operator bailed out with council funding

Perth Theatre. Photo: Richard Murphy Architects, Keith Hunter Perth Theatre. Photo: Richard Murphy Architects, Keith Hunter
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The operator of the embattled Perth Theatre and Concert Hall has been bailed out by the local council with the release of funding to ensure staff can be paid.

Perth and Kinross Council fast-tracked £180,000 in funding to operators Horsecross Arts. It had pledged the funding back in February.

According to the Courier, the money was needed to ensure that the 150-strong workforce could be paid on time.

Perth Theatre and Concert Hall, which is owned by the council, reopened in 2017 following a £16.6 million renovation.

Designs unveiled for Perth Theatre’s £16.6m revamp

However earlier this year, the council agreed to a 12-month review of Horsecross Arts’ running of the venues, following concerns around the charity’s financial management.

Magnus Linklater, chair of Horsecross Arts, said: “We are grateful to Perth and Kinross Council for releasing the funds it pledged back in February to balance the funding deficit we experienced in the year following the reopening of Perth Theatre.

“The organisation has faced several challenges in recent years, not the least of which was reopening Perth Theatre at a time when there was a limited amount of funding for the artistic programme and two venues were being operated on a restricted budget.”

Linklater added: “We look forward to continuing to work with Perth and Kinross Council to address the challenges of running our award-winning venues against a testing financial background, building on the range of savings already introduced by the board and our interim chief executive, aimed at securing the long-term future of the organisation.”

Reported in the Courier, council leader Murray Lyle said: “The council has repeatedly advised Horsecross Arts to improve its financial governance and long-term business planning.

“Council funding to the organisation has remained considerable, despite diminishing resources and increasing demands on public monies, with Horsecross receiving an increase in council funding in 2019/20.”

He added: “It is unfortunate that, despite this, Horsecross has been unable to develop a sustainable business model.”

Perth and Kinross Council has been contacted for comment.

Perth Theatre and Concert Hall given a year to boost attendance figures by local council

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