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Lyth Arts Centre Look To The Future Following Funding Award

22nd October 2020

Photograph of Lyth Arts Centre Look To The Future Following Funding Award

Worries over the financial outlook for Lyth Arts Centre (LAC) have been eased for the time being after the venue was awarded £97,000 in Scottish Government funding.

The sum - from the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund - represents the full figure requested by co-directors Charlotte Mountford and Tom Barnes, who say the money secures LAC's short-term future up to the end of March next year.

They acknowledge there is still much uncertainty in the performing arts sector as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but say they will remain "agile, flexible and optimistic".

The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund, which is run through Creative Scotland and has a total budget of £12.5 million, seeks to bridge the financial gap for venues until they have a clearer idea of their reopening plans and income projections.

Welcoming the £97,000 package in a statement on the LAC website, Charlotte and Tom said: "It is the figure we calculated which would enable us to remain solvent, avoid redundancies, and continue some form of creative output while we are closed up to March 31, 2021 (a date defined by the fund).

"This fund was established to recognise that performing arts venues like LAC were among the first to close in response to Covid-19, and will be among the last to reopen as part of the Scottish Government's Covid-19 recovery. In receiving this funding, it also acknowledges the important role LAC plays in both the national and Highland arts and cultural sector. In the face of the early implications of the pandemic, as a team we unanimously agreed that for LAC to survive and thrive in the future we would need to evolve and step-change as an organisation. Waiting to ‘return to normal' was never an option for us. We have been recognised by national press for our pragmatic approach."

The co-directors say the funding will allow a six-month process to implement a process of "re-imagining and reinvention" that has been taking place behind the scenes.

They add that, while unable to host the range of shows they normally would, they have worked with professional local artists on projects with five local care homes, a back-to-school initiative with Home-Start Caithness, a lockdown film in collaboration with Thurso

Youth Club and a "zine" for the First Minister as part of an online activity exploring gender equality and other issues, as well as distributing more than 800 copies of their Caithness Through My Window activity pack.

Charlotte and Tom said: "Over the next six months, we hope to extend successful lockdown projects and start new ones. These have offered both LAC and members of the community a way forward in dark times. We know many of our regular visitors and audiences are missing live music, live theatre, live comedy and exhibitions. We are too, and we look forward to hosting them again when we can. We're as optimistic as ever that when we are allowed to reopen, LAC will be in a stronger position than ever to do so."

Iain Munro, CEO of Creative Scotland, said: "Despite the ongoing detrimental impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on Scotland's performing arts venues, and on culture as a whole, it is positive that we can offer some funding to help venues navigate these extremely challenging times."

A grand total of £4,736,312 was paid out from this Covid19 funding to arts centres in Scotland Full details of all the awards can be seen HERE


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