:— Arts budget
As the local government reorganisation threatens its future existence, lothian Regional Council has underlined its cultural contribution in Edinburgh with a 20 per cent increase in the grants it hands out to the arts.
With awards totalling nearly £900,000, the council this year will fund the Film Festival for the first time and its contribution to the International Festival has doubled to £350,000. The financially-troubled Hoyal Lyceum Theatre also receives a first-time grant, with the money funding a full-time education officer whose job will be to encourage young people to participate in theatre. This is likely to result in more Hational Curriculum-related productions at the lyceum.
The cash has been channelled through a special fund Created by the council last year, principally to promote the tourism benefits of the city’s cultural life. However, some of the money is also intended to encourage community participation, with the Craigmillar Festival Arts Project, the Gorgie/Balry Community Festival and the Triangle Arts Centre in Pilton all receiving cash.
‘There has been no reduction for the bigger organisations like the lntemational Festival because we recognise the contribution they make to the economic well-being of the city,’ says education committee chair Elizabeth Maginnis. “However, because of capping on the council’s finances some of the smaller organisations have had to take a cut.’
The regional council’s support of the arts is likely to be a major plank of its defence against the threat of reorganisation. ‘With imminent break up of the region there is clearly a crisis looming for arts organisations,’ says Maginnis. ‘There are no guarantees on future funding and we are trying to explain to folk what we’ve been doing.’
Other arts organisations benefiting from this year’s increase are the Edinburgh International Jazz Festival, Scottish Ballet, Theatre Workshop and Artlink, which helps disabled people take part in the arts. (Eddie Gibb)
The Cottier — based in a converted church in Hyndland — was due to be used as a Mayfest venue this year. but after a reorganisation of the programme in March, the trust which owns the small studio theatre was left with a space without a show.
However in anticipation of hosting part of Mayl‘est‘s world theatre season, a great deal of work had been done to prepare the building. including securing its ﬁrst permanent performance licence.
_ Money box
‘An historic week for BBC Scotland, something to savour and salute.’ That was BBC Scotland Controller John McCormick’s reaction to the Corporation‘s decision to double its regional drama output over the next three years. BBC advisor David Hatch‘s report included plenty ofglad tidings for the Queen Margaret Dn've branch of the corporation. As well as the drama increase there is a commitment to making Glasgow a major producer of childrens‘ programmes. and doubling comedy output from two series a year to four.
BBC Scotland head ofdrama Andrea Calderwood was pleased at the ofﬁcial conﬁrmation of a policy already agreed among BBC drama chiefs, welcoming the recognition that BBC Scotland is an integral part of the network rather than a far-ﬂung appendage.
A tangible achievement already is the handing over of the second series of Cardiac Arrest to BBC Scotland control. The provocative hospital series was originally ﬁlmed in Glasgow but controlled from London, an anomaly Calderwood is keen to end. ‘We felt that series was something that was so strongly identiﬁed as a Scottish production that it should have Scottish editorial control as well,‘ she says. ‘We felt that there was a good point to make that from hereon the bulk of projects
with Scottish content would come through this department.‘
Although opportunities for new ideas have substantially increased. Calderwood stresses that there is no quota system; the ideas still have to be strong enough to compete in national terms. She doesn't see any problem ﬁnding the talent. ‘People recognise that we have got very good writers in Scotland. Ironically. previously most of their commissions have come from outside Scotland, but these changes mean that we can commission them directly with conﬁdence that their work will get on screen.‘ (Tom Lappin)
I BBC Scotland champagne reserves
Cardiac Arrest: Coming under the BBC Scotland aegis for its second series
also took a hammering from the Radio Scotland staff. The station was named UK Radio Station of the year in the prestigious Sony Radio Awards on 27 April. The accolade coincided with audience ﬁgures showing a year on year increase of around 50,000 listeners taking the Radio Scotland audience over the million mark. ‘l am delighted that the new schedule is doing what it was designed to do.’ says station chief James Boyle. who came in for some flak when he revamped programming last year. Neighbouring station Clyde 2 was also celebrating the Sony Awards, picking up the metropolitan station award for the second year running.
5 Drug scare
The deaths of two teenagers at a Hanger 13 rave in Ayr are likely to reinforce recommendations for tougher penalities for dealers, which are expected to be made in a Commons committee report on drug abuse in Scotland published next week.
Police are trying to track down pushers who may have supplied the two teenagers with drugs and are keen to speak to anyone with information who attended the rave. The cause of death had not been established as The list went to press, but it has been widely assumed that they were drug- related. ‘At any rave there is a
' problem of drugs, by virtue of the
people that frequent this type of event,’ according to a Strathclyde police spokesman.
The widespread use of ‘dance’ drugs was a major concern of the Scottish Affairs Committee which has been considering drug abuse in Scotland since last year and releases its final report next week. It is expected to make recommendations which specifically relate to Ecstasy and similar drugs. ‘Before the weekend deaths I felt it was just a matter of time before something like this happened,’ says Phil Gallie, a committee member and Conservative MP for Ayr. ‘If this kind of thing becomes a regular occurrence, there will he calls for a clampdown on this kind of event. If youth doesn’t get a grip and start to control it, there will be constraints on when these events are allowed to open until. It’s up to the young people themselves.’
and the trustees decided to press ahead with opening the theatre.
The Cottier has been used occasionally over the last three years by groups as diverse as Test Department and the Scottish Youth Theatre. but it is hoped that it can be developed as a regular venue for touring theatre. music and exhibitions. ‘The biggest thing going for us is the location.‘ says trust director Sandy Maxwell. ‘The bar and restaurant next door. Cottier‘s, has already proved to be fantastically successful over the last two years.‘
The trust was formed to buy the disused church which was in danger of crumbling beyond repair. The restaurant was opened ﬁrst as a way of generating income to fund the
The committee’s report is likely to recognise the difficulty of stopping young people taking drugs and may suggest ways of controlling the places they do it.
The Health Education Board for Scotland, which has produced several drugs education campaigns, believes the deaths emphasise the need for young people to be given information about the dangers associated with drug abuse. ‘We want to encourage young people to consider why they are taking drugs,’ says HEBS director of programmes Graham Robertson. “We want to motivate people not to take drugs but also to recognise there are different types of drug user, from those who are experimenting to people with a dependency problem.’
A video-based education pack on drug use and abuse aimed at both young people and youth leaders is due to be launched by HEBS later in the year. (Eddie Gibb and Thom Bibdin)
restoration of the main church hall. which has now been turned into a 360- capacity theatre space.
Touring theatre company Ridiculusmus is at the Cottier on IS and 16 May. with productions of Three Men in a Boat and Flann O’Brien‘s The Third Policeman. (Eddie Gibb)
I The Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine is being relaunched this week after receiving Urban Aid funding which will allow it to develop a four year programme to encourage participation in the arts by local people. Cunninghame District Council has employed two full-time staff; an arts outreach worker and a development manager to improve HAC's community arts provision.
4 The List 6— I‘) May I994