AN acclaimed Scottish theatre company is to close a year after losing funding from Creative Scotland.

Fire Exit, led by artistic director David Leddy, is to close, and Mr Leddy is formally "ending his theatre career."

One of the director of the National Theatre of Scotland described the closure as a "huge loss".

The theatre company, which lost out in its bid for regular funding last year, will close at the end of June after 17 years.

Mr Leddy said he will stop making theatre and pursue a new career.

The lauded theatre company has worked with the Tron Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Museum and the Edinburgh International Book Festival over the years, among others.

The company’s final production was a double-award winning production of Coriolanus Vanishes at the Traverse theatre during Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2018

Mr Leddy said that since losing out on Regular Funding, the company has been given 'transition funding', which has now ceased.

He said he has not had contact with Creative Scotland in recent months, and believes the company has been treated with "open contempt that has been staggering."

Today, Mr Leddy will appear at Holyrood to give evidence to the Scottish Parliament Culture Committee.

Before it closes, the company will publish two books, an account of 25 years of the company, and a collection of Leddy's plays.

Leddy said last night: "I don't know what I am doing next, yet.

"We have had absolutely no word from Creative Scotland since we appealed last year.

"The level of disinterest has been very high."

He said for the type of experimental theatre that Fire Exit made, public funding was crucial, and after losing regular funding, no other major support was forthcoming.

The theatrical touring fund established by the arts funder, the company said is "entirely unsuitable for Fire Exit’s work.

"The company would need to end its five education and mentoring strands; cease international collaboration and long-term artistic developments; stop making digital work; and stop presenting work at Edinburgh Fringe Festival - the latter being deemed ‘probably too expensive’ by Creative Scotland."

Mr Leddy said he had asked more than 20 times why his company was not deemed worthy of funding, and has yet to receive a reason.

Supporters of the company expressed their dismay last night.

Mark Thomas, the comedian, said: "Coriolanus Vanishes is one of the most daring and intense shows I have seen and the prospect of losing David Leddy from theatre is an absolute... travesty.”

Andy Arnold, artistic director of the Tron Theatre, said: "I'm extremely sad to see the demise of such a groundbreaking and innovative company as Fire Exit.

"I have personally enjoyed working with David and his team on their many collaborations with the Tron and Scottish theatre will undoubtedly be the poorer for such a loss. It makes no sense."

Cora Bissett, associate director at the National Theatre of Scotland, said: "I was deeply saddened to hear of the closure of David Leddy's Fire Exit company, following the bizarre funding decision of Creative Scotland the year previous.

"David constantly surprised, subverted, provoked and invented and was an ingenious theatre maker.

"The company's closure is a huge loss to Scottish theatre but I know too that David will turn his considerable imagination to other creative paths and I look forward to seeing what he gives birth to."

Leddy has worked as a playwright and theatre director since 1995 and established Fire Exit in 2002.

Prizes include the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award, a San Diego Critics’ Circle Award, two Herald Angel Awards and a Fringe First Award.

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: "We are disappointed to learn of developments at Fire Exit.

"The organisation applied for Regular Funding for 2018-21; however, in a competitive process and within the limits of funds available, we were unable to support them through this funding route.

"We met with Fire Exit who received transition funding through to April 2019 to provide them with time and resource to explore other funding options including our Open Project Fund and our Touring Fund which was launched in 2018."