Reprieve for Scottish Youth Theatre after new funding secured

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The Scottish Youth Theatre’s planned closure in the summer will not go ahead after new funding was announced.

The Scottish Government will give £150,000 to match private sponsorship secured by the theatre, including from Edinburgh-based investment firm Baillie Gifford.

The cash will enable the theatre to stay open for the rest of 2018.

The theatre, whose alumni include stars such as Gerard Butler and Karen Gillan, announced earlier this month it planned to close in the summer after losing out on Creative Scotland funding.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the new cash would give the theatre a chance to find money to stay open long-term.

Scottish Youth Theatre chief executive Jacky Hardacre said: “With a future now secured for Scottish Youth Theatre, our focus is firmly on ensuring the nation’s young people have their own thriving national theatre company to engage with, be inspired by and to aspire to be a part of.

“This solution would not be possible without the support from Baillie Gifford and a number of private-sector organisations and individuals.

“Furthermore, the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary have shown a great willingness to explore every option for Scottish Youth Theatre and we are very grateful for their time and efforts and their clear commitment to youth arts in Scotland.”

She said she had been “overwhelmed and humbled” by the support for the theatre.

Ms Hyslop said: “There was widespread concern about the announcement that the theatre was facing closure due to its financial position.

“This funding from partners will allow the theatre to maintain its work and complete the ongoing positive changes to their business. It will also give time for further dialogue about a longer-term funding strategy.

“I have set out this offer to the Scottish Youth Theatre and I have encouraged them to continue exploring all options available to secure a more permanent funding solution.”

She said they had also discussed improving the “reach, depth and quality” of the theatre’s work across Scotland and how the new money will assist.

The government had faced criticism over the planned closure would in the Year of Young People but ministers stressed Creative Scotland is at arm’s length from the government and officials are legally barred from interfering in their funding decisions.

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