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A national theatre for Scotland to be proud of


Scotland should have a vibrant and vigorous National Theatre which will boost the country’s reputation abroad and benefit the people of Scotland, according to a report considered at today’s meeting of the Scottish Arts Council.

James Boyle, Scottish Arts Council Chairman, said, ""We want to see a brilliant and dynamic Scottish National Theatre which will build on stronger foundations for drama in Scotland and will win prestige within this country and beyond by producing new writing and world-class productions.

"We intend to work with the Scottish Executive to realise the desire expressed in the National Cultural Strategy for a national theatre for Scotland. The recent report on proposals for a Scottish National Theatre confirmed that its success depends on greater investment in the current provision of drama - a view we have always supported. Therefore we seek to raise drama across Scotland to the international standard required for a first-rate Scottish National Theatre which will be a credit to Scotland and its people."

The Scottish Arts Council’s model for a Scottish National Theatre will provide a platform for Scottish drama as a whole: delivering higher quality work, building audiences in Scotland and achieving international recognition. It will commission a wide range of Scottish artists and companies to produce excellent work, drawing on a strengthened infrastructure which includes building-based theatres, touring theatre companies, independent artists, producers, promoters, venues and the complex web of relationships and partnerships which binds the whole together.

The Scottish National Theatre will create a sustainable and virtuous circle, benefiting from and reinforcing enhanced drama provision in Scotland. The Scottish Arts Council’s vision for drama in Scotland can:

  • bring the buzz back into Scottish theatre by improving artistic excellence and enriching the experience for the audience;
  • offer higher quality productions which will increase the size and range of audiences;
  • expand opportunities to develop artistic vision and create new and experimental work, including work with/for other media;
  • develop funding and other partnerships between companies and local authorities, producers and venues, producers and defined geographical areas, which will ensure that theatres are well-equipped to serve their local communities and deliver agreed outcomes;
  • retain and nurture talent by creating opportunities for career development through associated posts and residences, and opportunities for emerging artists to work with flagship companies.
The Scottish Arts Council’s paper on the Future of Drama in Scotland is based on extensive consultation throughout the theatre sector combined with thorough research (see Notes to Editors).

Having undertaken a meticulous costing of several options, the Scottish Arts Council will put a strong case to the Scottish Executive for extra funding to ensure the success of drama throughout Scotland and a National Theatre (see details of costings in Notes to Editors). This bid for increased funding for drama should be seen in the context of the Scottish Arts Council’s overall bid for £4m extra funding as part of its response to the Scottish Executive’s consultation on its draft budget for 2002-03 (see separate paper to Council).

John Scott Moncrieff, Chair of the Drama Committee, added, "I know we have come up with a practical and achievable plan that will make a real difference to drama in Scotland. The time is right to grasp this exciting opportunity for our country and for the broad church that is Drama and I want to thank the body of fellow-stakeholders who are travelling this path with us and who are strongly committed to maintaining the momentum."

Notes to editors

"(i) The extra funding required for the success of the Drama Strategy is outlined in the table below (extract from the full report to Council):

Option C: Implement amended SNT model (omitting small-scale touring), continue Additional Money for Drama, strengthen the overall infrastructure for Drama.

Note: all figures are in 2001/02 prices (ie no allowance has been made for inflation). Bid to Scottish Executive will assume inflation of 2.5% per annum.

Current Year 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06
£000 £000 £000 £000 £000
Base (1) 6,221 7,421 8,421 8,721 8,721
SNT (3) 0,000 0,500 1,228 1,505 1,895
Total 6,221 7,921 9,649 10,226 10,616
Increase (2) 1,700 3,428 4,005 4,395


  1. Current year base figure includes £1m Additional Money for Drama (AMD) and assumes that the Scottish Arts Council retains this money for drama.
  2. Increased figure is additional money required from Scottish Executive.
  3. Year 3 and 4 figures for SNT are indicative.
  4. The sums made available under AMD were not intended to represent core funding. The bid is for increased core funding under new funding agreements.

(ii) Today’s paper builds on careful evaluation of a range of evidence from:
  • The Review of Theatres (available here)
  • Proposals for a Scottish National Theatre (available here)
  • review of touring
  • other initiatives such as New Writing and Scotland Onstage which stem from the Scottish Executive’s three-year allocation (1999-2002) of Additional Money for Drama (AMD)
  • extensive consultation with theatre sector
  • Scottish Arts Council staff and Drama Committee members.
(iii) Full copies of the Council papers on the Drama Strategy and the Funding Bid are available at the Council meeting on 24 July or, on request, from media.office@scottisharts.org.uk.

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Issued by: Scottish Arts Council

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