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Theatre company Fire Exit closes after 17 years following funding cut

David Leddy in Coriolanus Vanishes at Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Photo: Tommy Ga ken Wan David Leddy in Coriolanus Vanishes at Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Photo: Tommy Ga ken Wan
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Glasgow-based theatre company Fire Exit is to close permanently after 17 years, due to the loss of its Creative Scotland core funding.

Company founder and creative director David Leddy has said he is to end his association with theatre and will pursue a new career in a different realm.

The company lost its funding in Creative Scotland’s January 2018 funding round and its transitional funding ran out in April this year.

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

The company’s last performance – a performed reading at the Glasgow Tron from one of the company’s mentoring schemes – took place last month. It will publish two legacy books before closing at the end of June with the loss of two and a half full-time jobs.

Leddy told The Stage that despite Creative Scotland’s insistence that the company would be able to access funding through a different stream, the rules for that fund were not suitable.

He said: “To fit within the rules of the fund we would have to close down all our education work, all our international work and our artistic development of new projects. We would have to stop making any large-scale main stage shows and we would have to focus entirely on making very small-scale work that could tour to village hall-sized venues.”

The company runs five creative learning strands supporting colleagues in the sector and in the last two years it has given 70 hours of free mentoring and advice to 45 people.

Leddy told The Stage that reducing in size and taking on other jobs to subsidise the company was not appropriate.

He added: “It is a route we have seen a lot of other companies go and after a couple of years they disappear and nobody notices. So we just decided we would be open and honest and realistic about the fact that this is the end of the road.”

Leddy is due to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s culture committee at Holyrood on May 30 as part of its inquiry into the future of funding for the arts in Scotland.

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