SCOTTISH Youth Theatre, whose famous alumni include Gerard Butler, Kate Dickie, Karen Gillan and host of other leading actors, is to close after losing out in the controversial recent funding decisions by Creative Scotland.

The theatre, more than 40 years old, is to close in July, its board has announced.

SYT applied for regular funding (RFO) from Creative Scotland, but did not receive it and the "significant funding gap" has proved to be unbridgeable for the Glasgow-based company.

The company was not an RFO organisation from 2015-18, but were funded by Scottish Government money through Creative Scotland, worth £400,000,  a sum which was announced by Alex Salmond, former First Minister, in 2014.

Tonight a board statement says: "In January this year, Scottish Youth Theatre learned that we had not been successful in our application for regular funding from Creative Scotland for the period 2018-21. This represents a gap of around a third of our required income.

"After the news from Creative Scotland we have worked on many business models, a variety of cost cutting exercises and discussed how we can better collaborate to share costs and resources with like-minded organisations.

"However sadly, without a realistic expectation that we would be successful in securing financial support in such a limited time to meet the significant funding gap, we are left with no other realistic option but to cease trading on 31st July 2018."

Staff and board have been "devastated" by the decision, insiders say.

Its last works will include its National Ensemble, which will tour to four Scottish cities.

It will also continue with its summer courses and other activities until July.

The statement added: "If you are a current participant then the best way you can support us is by continuing to attend for the remainder of our time."

A statement from the Scottish Government said: "The Scottish Youth Theatre's announcement will be of serious ‎concern for many people.

"The decisions about which organisations receive Regular Funding is for Creative Scotland and not for the Scottish Government, and we would encourage SYT to keep talking to Creative Scotland about other potential sources of funding."
A seperate statement from the company itself, said: "At a time when Scottish Youth Theatre is delivering Scotland's first National Youth Ensemble and is exploring more than ever the power and potential of collaborations and connectivity with a diverse and interesting range of partners, including the other National Youth Arts companies, we’re devastated to be in this position. 

"For more than 40 years, Scottish Youth Theatre has enriched and empowered thousands of Scots to realise their potential through the arts. "The irony is not lost on all concerned that this should come to an end in Scotland's designated Year of Young People."

A spokesman for Creative Scotland said: "We are disappointed to learn of Scottish Youth Theatre’s plans to cease trading later this year. Scottish Youth Theatre applied for Regular Funding for 2018-21, however, in a competitive process and within the limits of funds available, we were not able to support them through this funding route, but have been in discussions with them regarding alternative routes to support.

"Creative Scotland is fully committed to supporting access to creativity for young people through the organisations we fund across Scotland. Youth arts are well represented in the network of Regularly Funded Organisations, with more than 80% of them including work with or for children and young people.

"Creative Scotland also provides extensive support for arts and young people through Open Project Funding and through multi-million pound Targeted Funding programmes such as the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) and CashBack for Creativity."