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Inverness Eden Court Theatre prepares to bid for funding from £10 million pot to support performing arts venues in Scotland hit by coronavirus restrictions

By Val Sweeney

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Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.
Eden Court Theatre in Inverness.

Eden Court Theatre in Inverness will bid for a grant from a targeted £10 million fund announced today to support performing arts venues in Scotland.

The Scottish Government's performing arts venues relief fund will help venues which cannot yet reopen to their audiences due to the ongoing impact of coronavirus restrictions.

It has been created as part of the government’s £185 million business support fund and will be run by Creative Scotland which will publish the full details shortly.

James Mackenzie-Blackman, chief executive of Eden Court, understood detailed guidance would be given next week on how to apply.

"Eden Court welcomes the Scottish Government’s announcement of a performing arts venues relief fund," he said.

"We will be applying to the fund and presenting a case for the support needed to stabilise the business and ensure that we can return to deliver the best arts and cultural experiences to the people of the Highlands."

The fund was announced by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

"Our theatres and performing arts venues and the talented freelancers who work with them are an essential part of the fabric of Scotland’s culture and communities and promote our international reputation, and we are determined that they will survive and be able to thrive again," she said.

"We reacted quickly to help culture and the creative industries from the earliest days of this pandemic including through the £120 million pivotal enterprise resilience fund which is unique to Scotland. This new fund is the next step.

"Our performing arts venues effectively had to close overnight, with an almost complete loss of income.

"There is no doubt that in doing so they saved lives, and for that I am extremely grateful.

"As we navigate our way through the pandemic, we know physical distancing is vital to ensuring that we do not see a second wave of infections, but we recognise the difficulties this presents for those in performing arts.

"This dedicated fund will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm."

The government was also actively considering support for grassroots music venues.

"We know the impact of this crisis will be long-term so ambitious action to support the future of these organisations, as well as our wider cultural infrastructure, is vital," Ms Hyslop continued.

"We will continue to urge the UK Government to use their fiscal levers, such as significant borrowing powers, to back culture and creative industries with major investment.

"This will enable the Scottish Government to offer even more support to respond to this crisis and build for the future."

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