Across Scotland, venues are struggling to maintain a future and stave off the fears of going dark permanently. Tragically, the dawning reality is that the coming months will determine the fates of Scotland’s cultural hubs for generations to come.
Capital Theatres, the charity responsible for running Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, The Studio and heart of the trio The King’s have had little choice but to launch a crowdfunding campaign to secure £50,000 to ensure they are able to raise the curtain once more – when safe to do so. Doing so, not only to preserve the cities cultural integrity but to secure the high quality of accessible arts for Edinburgh’s vulnerable communities.
From online Tea & Jamming sessions, Dementia-friendly programmes and teaching aids for children during Lockdown, Capital Theatres has maintained its commitment to the communities despite halting live, in-person events. With 92% of the staff currently furloughed, with a small section able to work from home, the charity faces a dire situation.
Now, this is nothing new, and we here at Corr Blimey have asked your help in supporting the arts community and venues throughout lockdown, but for those unable to provide financial assistance they can help aid in another key way. Starting up a petition on Change.org they are calling on the Scottish Government’s support to recognise the severity of the situation:
‘We cannot let this happen. We need you to help us demonstrate to the government that Capital Theatres is worth equal investment to our theatre compatriots, to save our iconic venues before it’s too late’
Despite persistent appeals from Capital Theatres regarding the position they find themselves concerning the depleted funds they had to refurbish the King’s Theatre, support has so far been minimal from the government. Campaigning to receive funding: “at the same level as other publicly supported theatres,” this would go towards enabling the charity to play their role in Edinburgh’s year-round art scene, boosting the local and national economy, stating:
‘ from dementia friendly music concerts, to storytelling projects with Special Needs Schools and performance workshops with care experienced young adults. During June and July alone, we engaged with over 600 people each week through our digital activities.…
…Without significant external help, we will struggle to survive this prolonged period of closure with no ticket income. We need funding to continue delivering our work behind closed doors and to prepare the theatres to reopen when we are able to safely do so.‘
Faced with the harrowing decision of whether to remove their workers or risk the closure of The King’s theatre entirely, CEO Fiona Gibson issued a frank and blunt warning to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, that without the necessary funds and protection the decision would need to be called.
From auld Leithers to the fresh faces of Marchmont Rd and Pollock Halls, there’s no one in the city of Edinburgh, and rarely a person in Scotland who at one time or another hasn’t been impacted by the glittering spectacle of the Festival, the intimate creative-furnace of The Studio or the majesty of the old lady of Leven Street that is our beloved King’s Theatre. With support, the charity hopes to be able to bounce back and push forward and make a welcome comeback, but likely with reduced seating capacity needs ours, and the government’s help to do so.