40 projects across Scotland share over £700,000 Open Project Funding

Published: 27 Jun 2019

Four musicians playing in Edinburgh

An immersive theatre experience for young people that centres around cyber security, a brand-new collaboration between Scottish Ensemble and Untitled Projects inspired by heart transplant surgery, and Scotland’s crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland are among the 40 projects that share over £700,000 of Open Project Funding in May 2019.

A diverse group of recipients, made up of individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries, each received between £1000 and £90,000 to develop their projects. These include:

Multi Artform

Scottish Ensemble and Untitled Projects have received funding to develop, We Are In Time, a new chamber opera inspired by the incredible science, technology and human resilience of heart transplant surgery.

With the support of the National Lottery, we are delighted to be able to support such a broad range of innovative new projects as well as the revival of ground breaking works- Iain Munro, Creative Scotland

In association with Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts, this major new commission has a high profile international team: scored by the Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson, with a libretto by playwright Pamela Carter and directed by Scottish theatre maker Stewart Laing.

We Are In Time marks the 50th Anniversary of the Scottish Ensemble. It will premiere in February 2020 and will be presented in four Scottish cities: Perth, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh.

Stuart Laing, Artistic Director, Untitled Projects, said: “Untitled Projects are thrilled to be supported by Creative Scotland to work with the Scottish Ensemble on We Are In Time – the combined forces of the two companies bring a large group of amazingly talented people together to create this new piece of music theatre.”

Jenny Jamieson, Chief Executive, Scottish Ensemble have said, “The vision for this project, and the visual, musical and theatrical experiences will be able to flourish thanks to this fantastic endorsement from Creative Scotland. We’re looking forward to building a very equal, mutually stimulating creative partnership.”

Civic Digits has received funding to enable the delivery of The Big Data Show (TBDS) a ground-breaking immersive experience for young people (S1) weaving theatre and gaming together to explore cyber security and data citizenship.  There will be 65 workshops in schools in the Perth and Kinross, Edinburgh and Glasgow areas; enhancement of a suite of digital assets; 12 performances of the show at Perth Theatre, the Lyceum and the Kings Theatre.

TBDS is a drama about the first prosecuted cyber hack in the UK. Co-written by award winning playwright Clare Duffy and Rupert Goodwins, one of the young hackers involved in gaining access to Prince Philip’s BT email in the 1980s, and now a Technology Journalist. Produced by Suzy Glass for Civic Digits. Gaming technology developed and produced by Dundee-based studio Orthrus.

Using live performance, bespoke mobile gaming and digital tricks delivered to audience members’ handsets, The Big Data Show will inspire greater understanding and engagement with our future as ‘digital citizens’ in the 21st century.


Funding awarded to The Nevis Ensemble will enable an ambitious tour of the Hebrides. The 40-piece ensemble, led by Holly Mathieson and Jon Hargreaves, will stage 35 performances throughout August this year, for communities on Barra, Vatersay, Eriskay, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Harris, Lewis and Skye, as well as in Ullapool, Oban, Ardfern, Garelochhead, Inverary and Glasgow. A tour highlight will be St Kilda, with the orchestra giving a performance for those working on this most evocative and remote of islands.

Three groups of musicians have all received funding to put their music into production.  Edinburgh based band Meerkat Parade, will produce and record their second album, while Gypsy Circus also based in Edinburgh, will record their third EP at Post Electric Studios. Singer songwriter Elaine Lennon, a Celtic Connections 2019 Danny Kyle Open Stage Award Winner, will collaborate with award winning engineer Paul Savage and singer songwriter Findlay Napier to produce her solo written debut album By Your Side.

The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has received funding towards its 42nd edition. The festival will present over 130 concerts across ten days in 12 venues, from 12-21 July. In addition to offering a snapshot of Scotland’s celebrated jazz and blues talent, the festival will showcase a host of international collaborations, and performers from South and North America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia.

The 2019 programme will include John Bruce, veteran of the Edinburgh blues scene, creating a special band for the Festival, and celebrated young vocalist Irini Arabatzi, in collaborations with Mark Hendry and the Scottish Swing Orchestra.

Literature & Publishing

Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Bloody Scotland has received funding for this year’s edition taking place in Stirling from 20-22 September 2019.  The annual festival furthers the development of Scottish crime writing by bringing together leading Scottish and international writers, showcasing debut voices, encouraging new writing and introducing the best of the genre to audiences and readers.  In addition to the festival events catering mainly for adult readers, the festival intends to repeat the successful 2018 and 2017 initiative to take events to local primary and secondary schools, for both children and young adult readers.

The McIlvanney Prize given each year for the Best Scottish Crime Novel of the year will be joined in 2019 by a new prize for the Best Scottish Debut Novel.

Bob McDevitt, Director, Bloody Scotland said: "I am once again looking forward to the three-day celebration that is Bloody Scotland; from the Torchlight procession on the opening night via the football match, a ceilidh, a quiz and many excellent panels and individual author events it should be a memorable long weekend."


Queen Jesus Productions has received funding to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven in late October/November 2019. Returning to the Tron Theatre, exactly ten years after its premiere there in 2009, the company will present a unique, specially curated week-long programme of events that reflect on the play’s impact and enduring relevance.

In addition to a three-performance run of the original production and the Scottish premiere of an infamous Brazilian production, there will be a programme of learning and discussion inspired by the play’s journey, themes and guiding principles.

Jo Clifford, the play’s writer and performer said: “I wrote this play to protest against the prejudice and discrimination trans people suffer; to celebrate our presence on this earth and everyone’s shared humanity. I am so proud of everything it is doing to transform the lives of trans people.

Jo Clifford

This play has been performed in churches, theatres, church halls, community centres and pubs in three languages on both sides of the Atlantic and I am so happy it will now be performed alongside our Brazilian sisters for the first time, back in its creative birthplace The Tron Theatre.


Julia James-Griffiths has received funding to enter into the final stage of the creation and production of a short touring work for three dancers, based on her work The Box.  
The project will run for 2 weeks in June, and over three weeks in August; including a week residency with Dance Base and four performances of the work as part of Dance Base’s Heads Up and Insights Platform Fringe festival programme. During August, Julia will also host a free movement workshop titled Mind to Move, for those with experience of mental health issues.

This project aims to challenge perceptions around depression and mental health issues, through the performance of a sensitive and accessible piece of dance theatre.

Claire Pencak’s funding award will support the development and presentation of BATCH:2 - a programme of distinctive, high quality experimental Scottish dance works including live performance and dance on screen. The public performances will take place within a studio setting at The Bakery, Jedburgh every Sunday afternoon throughout August. Featured artists include Airfield Collective, In the Making Collective, Tim Rubidge, Audicia Lynne Morley, Merav Israel, Claire Pencak and Dudendance.

Visual Art

David Sherry has received funding to research and develop new work for up-coming projects, and a solo exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery Belfast that will be part of the Belfast International Festival in October 2019. David will be developing a new series of sculptural works; performances and making a catalogue and a new book of drawings.

Rachel Frances Sharpe received funding to research and develop her visual arts project How Strange When an Illusion Dies, which is concerned with queer identity, desire and nostalgia in relation to cinematic spectatorship.

Her recent work explores these ideas through film, sculpture and constructed set-like spaces that allow the viewer to investigate and inhabit them. This funding will allow Rachel to further this line of enquiry, placing Art Nouveau set-design as a backdrop for – speculative and recorded – histories from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Iain Munro, Acting CEO at Creative Scotland said: “With the support of the National Lottery, we are delighted to be able to support such a broad range of innovative new projects as well as the revival of ground breaking works.

“From the immersive new work from Civic Digits centred around cyber security, to an exciting collaboration between two of Scotland’s leading arts organisations Scottish Ensemble and Untitled Projects, to an important celebration of the impact and legacy of The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven one of the most talked about theatre productions of recent times, this month’s awards showcase the rich diversity of the arts and cultural landscape in Scotland.”


Open Project Fund - May 2019

Read and download the Open Project Fund awards from May 2019.

Notes to Editors:

Open Project Funding is available to a wide range of organisations and individuals working across Scotland in the arts, screen and creative industries. It supports a broad spectrum of activity including creative and professional development, research and development, production, small capital requirements, touring and collaborations, festivals, arts programming, audience development, etc. Support is available for projects of different scale and duration with the maximum period of award being set at 2 years. Awards are made in the range £1,000 to £100,000 (or up to £150,000 by exception).  Application guidance and forms can be found here.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter @creativescots, Facebook www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland and Instagram www.instagram.com/creativescots.

Media contact: Sophie Bambrough, Media Relations and PR Officer, Creative Scotland
T: 0131 523 0015 / M: 07747 606 146 /
E: sophie.bambrough@creativescotland.com