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National theatre loses out on £1.5m of funding

SCOTLAND'S national theatre has missed out on a £1.5 million funding boost to help create a new headquarters in Glasgow as other arts organisations were given £9m.

LAURIE SANSOM: Remains committed to headquarters plan.
LAURIE SANSOM: Remains committed to headquarters plan.

The National Theatre of Scotland said it was nevertheless determined to push ahead with plans to convert a disused industrial unit in Speirs Wharf despite losing out on lottery funds for capital projects from Creative Scotland yesterday.

The company does not have its own dedicated theatre and is described as a 'theatre without walls.' However, the company's artistic director said the project to transform a 3700 square metre site into its new home was ongoing.

Laurie Sansom said: "We are committed to creating a suitable headquarters for the company which will allow us to share our work, technical and rehearsal amenities with theatre-makers in Scotland and with communities.

"We are, naturally, disappointed not to have been successful in this round of awards from Creative Scotland's Large Capital Programme and we look forward to discussing next steps with colleagues there."

It came as other organisations were successful in their bids.

Mr Sansom, who last week unveiled the NTS's new season for 2014, said she considered the plan as of "strategic importance, not just for the National Theatre of Scotland, but for the theatre sector in Scotland as a whole."

He said £2m was already pledged by the Scottish Government, as well as £500,000 by Glasgow City Council and said the NTS was in discussions with "a range of trusts, funders and donors".

It came as the Fruitmarket and Collective Galleries in Edinburgh, the Glasgow Film Theatre, Tramway, Wasps artist studios and Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, and projects in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dunoon and Argyll and Bute were all successful in bids for lottery funds for capital projects from Creative Scotland.

Yesterday's awards were for 'stage one' funding, which gives a "green light" and up to £100,000 to organisations to develop their projects, with a larger amount of funding ringfenced to support successful final plans for each project.

The Fruitmarket Gallery, one of the leading contemporary art galleries, received £100,000 and a provisional £1.4m for a £6m revamp of its city centre site in Edinburgh.

Collective Gallery will further work on plans to redevelop the City Observatory site on Calton Hill and has been awarded £94,840 and a provisional £905,160.

The Citizens Theatre, to undergo a major redevelopment, has been given a provisional award of £1.5m while the Tramway receives more than £100,000 for upgrades.

Dominic Hill, artistic director of the Citizens Theatre, said: "We're delighted that Creative Scotland has supported our vision for redeveloping this historic building and providing audiences, artists and staff with quality spaces in which to make and enjoy theatre.

"This project will ensure the Citizens continues to deliver world class theatre for the benefit of local, national and international audiences and today's award is an important step in our journey towards realising that vision."

Glasgow Film Theatre has been given more than £500,000 to "extend, improve and enhance its existing listed Rose Street premises." Aberdeen's £7m plan to revamp its music hall receives £1.4m and the Woodend Barn in Aberdeenshire, receives £126,777.

Hospitalfield Arts in Angus receives £1m and the Cove Park centre for artists receives £621,663. A provisional £465,000 was awarded for Dunoon Burgh Hall's scheme and NVA's plans to save the lauded 1966 modernist building St Peter's Seminary received a provisional £400,000.

The Wasps Trust in Glasgow received a provisional award of more than £900,000 to develop an area of the Briggait building in Glasgow into a creation centre for dance, physical performance and aerial work.

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