NEWS: Grassroots campaign celebrates connections between audiences and theatre in Scotland

#LoveTheatreScotland sees industry professionals and their audiences share and celebrate theatre and is supported by the Federation of Scottish Theatre

Live theatre in Scotland might be on hold but the sector continues to unite with its audiences in celebrating the value of live theatre, the world class talent in Scotland and the creativity, resilience and economic value of the industry. Alongside #LoveDanceScotland, #LoveTheatreScotland has seen thousands of stories shared on social media not just by theatre makers but by audiences keen to support their favourite venues, performers, theatre companies and the shows that stay with them while live performance is paused.

Theatre has continued to work for the public throughout lockdown: for children, for the isolated, for the elderly, for our audiences. Youth theatres have continued remotely, engagement work with community groups has deepened and moved online, plays have been shared for free to benefit the public. This pivot has been drastic and inspiring but it is not a long term solution. Despite Scottish Government and UK Government funding pledges the industry remains at critical risk, with turnover predicted to be down by as much as 75% for some businesses and freelance contracts near standstill.

According to the latest survey, 90% of Scottish households engage in cultural activity each year with theatre third on the list of activities. To meet this demand venues across the country are keen to welcome back audiences as soon as it is safe, and financially viable, to do so. Physical distancing means theatres can’t sell enough tickets to cover their costs but in the meantime venues such as Eden Court Inverness have become humanitarian aid centres, acting as distribution hubs for food parcels. Smaller spaces like The Lyth Arts Centre, the UK’s most northerly theatre, have acted as community hubs for the people of Caithness while the team have been in a position to provide child services support.

Many in theatre work predominantly in a freelance capacity. From writers to technicians, set designers to stage managers, the sector thrives on their exceptional creativity but their income has been slashed or has disappeared altogether. While the detail of funding for freelancers remains unclear and many fall between the cracks of self employed government support, the wider industry continues to campaign on their behalf and their work will also be highlighted by #LoveTheatreScotland.

#LoveTheatreScotland is a campaign created to showcase and celebrate theatre in Scotland, highlighting the benefits of theatre to communities all over the country. #LoveTheatreScotland alongside #LoveDanceScotland are paying tribute to the performing arts in Scotland and highlighting the need for continued support to ensure that theatre and dance made in Scotland can survive and thrive in future. Support the campaign by following the hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.