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Plans for a Scottish National Theatre move ahead


A National Theatre for Scotland is moving closer now that the Scottish Arts Council has convened a Steering Group to advise on plans and timescale for its launch.

The idea of a Scottish National Theatre has been around for many years and featured in the National Cultural Strategy published by the Scottish Executive early on in the life of the new Scottish Parliament. Subsequently, the Scottish Arts Council set up an Independent Working Group to report on the feasibility of various models. Their findings were published in May 2001 and a commissioning model was adopted by the Scottish Arts Council two months later.

The Steering Group charged with implementing the recommendations comprises:

  • Dr Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, who chaired the original Independent Working Group;
  • Heather Baird, Director of the Federation of Scottish Theatres;
  • Kathleen Benham, Benham Conway Chartered Accountants;
  • Lorne Boswell, Equity;
  • Roberta Doyle, Director of Public Affairs, National Galleries of Scotland;
  • Eddie Jackson, Producer and Chief Executive, Borderline Theatre;
  • Liz Lochhead, playwright.

David Taylor, Head of Drama at the Scottish Arts Council, will advise the group.

The Group has a practical purpose: identifying a budget, planning a phased programme of implementation, and advising on potential Chair and Board members.

Mike Watson MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, said, “When I announced on 28 January the allocation of an extra £3.5 million for theatre in Scotland I said that it would prepare the way for the eventual establishment of a National Theatre for Scotland. I have asked the Scottish Arts Council to prepare a more detailed plan for its development. This Steering Group is the first step in that process. I welcome its formation and look forward to it building on the valuable work already done."

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Arts Council champions and sustains the arts for Scotland, investing £56 million from Scottish Executive and National Lottery funding to support and develop artistic excellence and creativity throughout Scotland.
  2. The Scottish Executive, via the Scottish Arts Council, has allocated £1m for 2003/04, envisaged to be the first year of operation of the Scottish National Theatre.
  3. The Scottish National Theatre Steering Group is supported and facilitated by arts consultant Morag Ballantyne.
  4. The report by the Independent Working Group on a Scottish National Theatre, together with the Scottish Arts Council’s own review of theatre provision in Scotland, can be accessed here.

    Further media contact:
    Morag Ballantyne
    Scottish National Theatre Steering Group
    T: 01506 834 359/mob: 07802 624025
    E: mbam@globalnet.co.uk

Contact email(s)


Issued by: Scottish Arts Council

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