As Scotland’s most celebrated and prolific producer of children’s theatre we are devastated by Creative Scotland’s decision to cut our funding. Although our RFO application shows we were recommended for a 9% funding increase we have been told, without any prior notice to Wednesday’s email, that we will no longer be regularly funded. Instead we have been advised;
“Although the application was recommended for support by the Assessing Officer, the Theatre Team took the strategic decision that the Theatre RFO network should focus organisations which support and develop the wider sector and that the network would be complemented by a new strategic fund supporting the creation and touring of work. Within this context, other applications demonstrated better alignment with the intended goals of the Theatre RFO network. The strategic fund will open for applications later in 2018.”
Hundreds of thousands of children have experienced our work since our inception in 1999. Last year alone we toured 11 productions, working with 20 performers, 11 stage managers, 8 creators, 5 directors, 3 producers and 2 writers.
Our company has been at the heart of establishing high-quality children’s theatre in Scotland, to a standard which has earned us, and Scotland, the reputation as world leaders in the field. Our way of working enables us to produce a variety of work which is created not only by our artistic director but by artists who are supported by the company. This ensures a programme of exciting and diverse work which is artistically supported, produced, and managed by Catherine Wheels.
Ironically, in the Year of Young People, Creative Scotland’s cuts mean there are now no regularly funded children’s theatre companies in Scotland.
With no details available for a potential strategic Touring Fund, nor the Theatre RFO network goals, we have no idea about our future. We need regular funding to support an infrastructure that allows us to continue to strategically develop the theatre sector in Scotland and respond to international demand for our work and expertise.
We are nationally and internationally renowned for critically-acclaimed artist-led work, work which creatively engages and inspires young people. We are instrumental in supporting artists and organisations’ development. This work can only happen with consistent funding.
Scotland is the now the only country in Europe without a regularly funded children’s theatre company and this is an embarrassment for a progressive nation.