Theatre - Regular Funding 2018-21

Theatre in Scotland continues to be vibrant, imaginative and profoundly affecting, with artists making and delivering work in an ever-increasing range of places, spaces and contexts.

Theatre in Scotland continues to be vibrant, imaginative and profoundly affecting, with artists making and delivering work in an ever-increasing range of places, spaces and contexts.  The last round of Regular Funding, 2015-18, supported world-class drama, physical performance and multi-disciplinary work which played to local, national and international audiences. Many of Scotland’s finest productions found their way onto stages around the world.

In the Regular Funding Network 2018-21, the Theatre cohort has been built around two component parts.

Firstly, we used our understanding of the theatre sector nationwide and awareness of the current economic environment to identify the bedrock of the sector, ultimately focusing on organisations which support and develop artists and reach deep into their local community. These include Scotland’s major venues such as the Royal Lyceum, the Citizens and Dundee Rep alongside smaller venues such as Comar and The Barn. Others such as Aberdeen Performing Arts, the Beacon and Platform programme a broad range of work helping introduce audiences to new and different artforms.

Newly added to the network are a number of organisations whose work is highly targeted on specific communities such as Lyra in Edinburgh and Toonspeak in Glasgow, and Solar Bear which supports D/deaf artists, and venues to make their regular programme of work accessible to a more diverse audience. Language, geography, access and artist/artform development are all evident in the 2018-21 Network including organisations which between them focus on babies, young children, teens and families. The Regular Funding 2018-21 Network also includes a number of Theatre organisations whose work spans a range of artforms.

Secondly, consideration was given to the Review of Touring which has been underway over the past 18 months and which involved extensive sector input. Two working groups of project funded and Regularly Funded Organisations, facilitated by the Federation of Scottish Theatre, are helping to re-structure how public funding can both respond to, and facilitate, changing business models as regards touring and audience reach.

In response to this work, alongside the network of Regularly Funded organisations 2018-21, Creative Scotland has also announced the creation of a £2m strategic Touring Fund, with support from the National Lottery, which will be one of our Targeted Funds for 2019/20, to support touring companies to work with venues to grow audiences.

This fund, to be operational in 2019, will be open to performing arts organisations and will provide those not included in the Regular Funding network with a further potential source of funding support, alongside Open Project funding and other Targeted funds.

This approach reflects the recommendations made in 2016’s review, the challenges facing touring of theatre and dance in Scotland and further work led by the Federation of Scottish Theatre and other performing arts organisations. The detail of the fund, its criteria and implementation will be co-created with the Sector to design, pilot and test a new way of funding touring over two years, that provides a better experience for producers, venues and audiences than current routes to funding are able to deliver.

Three touring Theatre companies not recommended for the Network 2018-21, will receive 12 months’ transition funding to take current funding levels to the end of March 2019. These organisations are Mischief La Bas, Fire Exit and Rapture Theatre.

We believe that the creation of an openly competitive Touring Fund will address concerns of erratic supply of work and create the conditions needed for high quality work to be enjoyed by more people more widely.

This structure moves organisations into a funding relationship which is more reflective of their role in the sector and opens up greater potential to work in a developmental fashion, adapting to sector need over the next three years and offering a more strategic approach to touring which will deliver multiple broader benefits both directly to those funded by Creative Scotland and indirectly to many with whom we have no funding relationship.  

Overall, this combination of funding opportunity for theatre organisations represents a gear shift in how public funding intersects with, and supports, those who make and present high-quality work fuelling an ambitious nationwide programme of audience growth and development.

Find out more about the Regular Funding Network 2018-21.