Struggling amateur theatres in Tayside deserve immediate help from the Scottish Government, the shadow secretary for culture has said.
Conservative Maurice Golden, who holds the opposition economy, fair work and culture brief at Holyrood, has argued an as-yet unallocated pot of more than £15m should be used to bail out amateur groups who run their own theatre buildings.
Mr Golden said: “From the outset of the pandemic, the UK has made £15 billion available to help mitigate the devastating impact of Covid on Scotland.
“As well as supporting jobs and businesses, it was quickly recognised that the arts contribute billions to the UK economy every year, hence the Chancellor announcing the £97 million culture fund.
“There is still £15.5m that hasn’t been allocated to some of our most at-risk venues and companies.
“Meanwhile, smaller theatre clubs across Tayside have lost the largest part of their income with cancelling pantos and there are still bills to pay.
“I am urging Nicola Sturgeon to step up to the plate and use the remaining cash to shore up Tayside’s struggling clubs.
“They are on a knife edge and must have access to this support.”
Dave Ross, President of Carnoustie Theatre Club, said: “Any funding that the UK or Scottish Government can provide to amateur community drama clubs will be most welcome.
“As I have said before we provide important help to the community, both in terms of providing entertainment and in providing a base for young people to learn acting, dancing and other key life skills.”
The Scottish Government announced details of the latest of its five funds to support the arts on Thursday, but the support is for professional groups only.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Following my announcement on August 28 of a new £59 million package of support for the culture and heritage sectors in Scotland, the total announcements arising from the £97 million consequentials is now £81.47 million.
“The remaining funds will be allocated to top-up pressure on funds already announced and for other proposals still being discussed with the sector,” she added.