On 24th January 2018, Creative Scotland announced that the Scottish Youth Theatre, amongst other Regular Funded Organisations would no longer receive their funding for the years 2018-2021.
Considering that Janet Archer, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland has named 2018 as the "Year of the Young People", the result of their funding cuts now means that there are no Regular Funded children's theatre companies in Scotland, despite Creative Scotland receiving millions of pounds in extra funding from the Scottish Government.
Scottish Youth Theatre has played a fundamental role in providing opportunities to children as young as 3 years of age, right up to 25 years of age.
As parents of children and young people who have been attending the Scottish Youth Theatre for a number of years, we have seen the positive impact that this provision has had. The Scottish Youth Theatre has been an integral part of learning for our children, through drama they have grown in confidence, within dance they can lose their inhibitions, encouraging them to being diversely aware, and giving them a voice in a happy environment and letting them blossom.
High-profile alumni and patrons who support the Scottish Youth Theatre have said;
Blythe Duff, actress and patron:
"I was stunned in the first instance. It came a wee bit out of left field. We were part of the Commonwealth Games, we had the First Minister visiting us, the Culture Secretary praising our work – it's infuriating that we now have to fight for our place. The SYT has a proven track record for a long, long time more than Creative Scotland. Other organisations should be proving they can do their job, we've proven we can do ours. I could understand the decision if the Youth Theatre wasn't ticking all the boxes. If the company was floundering, it wasn't getting participants, wasn't fulfilling its remit or going all over Scotland. It seems strange to pull the rug out from under it when the company is on a bit of a high."
Billy Boyd, actor and patron:
"Scottish Youth Theatre does such wonderful work with the young people of Scotland. A wonderful company."
John Michie, actor and patron:
"When joining SYT as a patron earlier this year, I was so struck by their enthusiasm, skills and sheer range of ambition. Their young people give so much to Scotland and I cannot think where Creative Scotland's decision came from."
Emma Thompson, Actress and Patron:
"I am shocked to hear about the decision by Creative Scotland. SYT is such a vital part of Scotland's arts scene for young people. I do hope other funding organisations will step into the breach. I have always been a proud patron of SYT and will continue to support them in whatever ways I can."
We are saddened to hear this news, and worry not only for the future of the Scottish Youth Theatre and all those talented individuals who help run this amazing organisation, but also the children and young people who are going to suffer as a result of this decision.
***UPDATE 8th March 2018 ****
Scottish Youth Theatre announced yesterday that they would cease trading as of 31st July 2018. This is as a direct result of the funding decision by Creative Scotland in January 2018.
We would like this decision to be reviewed by Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government.