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Coronavirus / Arts agency secures £250k funding boost

Chief executive Graeme Howell says the money has allowed Shetland Arts to ‘significantly reduce’ the number of redundancies it was considering

Mareel. Photo: Shetland NewsMareel. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Arts has been awarded nearly £250,000 from a Scottish Government fund which is aimed at helping performing arts venues through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The development agency, which runs Mareel in Lerwick, has secured a sizeable grant of £247,582.

Chief executive Graeme Howell said as a result Shetland Arts has been able to “significantly reduce the number of potential redundancies” it was having to consider.

“The money will minimise the risk of Shetland Arts becoming insolvent in the next period,” he added.

“We will be investing in commissioning and support for the performing arts sector and will release more details about this in the coming weeks.”

Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell: running the organisation will 'continue to be challenging'. Photo: Adam JonesShetland Arts chief executive Graeme Howell. Photo: Adam Jones

A total of £7.5 million has been awarded so far through the performing arts venues relief fund.

It is designed to support arts venues which cannot yet reopen.

Shetland Arts’ Mareel is due to reopen at the end of the month, as is the inside of its Bonhoga Gallery in Weisdale.

The performing arts venues relief fund is set to distribute £12.5 million in total.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Theatres and performing arts venues are vital to individuals, communities and our country. Our performing arts venues effectively had to close overnight, with an almost complete loss of income. There is no doubt that in doing so they saved lives, and for that I am extremely grateful.

“We know the impact of this crisis will be long-term so ambitious action to support the future of these organisations, as well as our wider cultural infrastructure, is key. This funding will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm.”

Other organisations receiving funding includes Aberdeen Performing Arts, An Lanntair, Eden Court, Horsecross Arts and Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre.

Recipients of a £5 million open fund for application from Scotland-based performing arts venues not currently in receipt of regular funding will be announced soon.