Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 17:51 UK

Salmond responds to actor's plea

Actor James McAvoy's message of support

The Scottish Funding council is to carry out a review of money for drama provision across Scotland.

The news comes after the Scots actor James McAvoy joined a campaign to prevent cutbacks at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD.

First Minister Alex Salmond has written to Mr McAvoy saying the government is committed to maintaining "world class drama provision".

A number of high-profile stars have become involved in the RSAMD campaign.

Among those who had put their names to a letter to the first minister were Bill Patterson, Billy Boyd and Alan Cumming.

Doctor Who star David Tennant, who also attended the academy, has already given his support to the campaign.

Mr McAvoy, a former student, described the academy as a "treasure".

He said that without Scotland's only conservatoire, students would be forced to find training south of the border.

I just hope future generations can benefit from the same kind of fantastic world-class training which I received
James McAvoy

Mr McAvoy said he would not have been able to afford to study elsewhere.

The open letter from actors, musicians and directors called on the government to intervene.

Mr McAvoy added: "I'm intensely proud to be Scottish but I'm even more proud to be product of a Scottish training and I just hope future generations can benefit from the same kind of fantastic world-class training which I received."

In his letter to Mr McAvoy the first minister said: "Despite some suggestions to the contrary, the Academy is not facing an immediate funding gap."

But he acknowledged the difficulties caused as a result "of the historical imbalance between the funding it receives for teaching music and drama."

He added:"It would be inappropriate for the Scottish Government or the Scottish Funding Council to intervene in the running of such a specialised institution."

Stable finances

The funding council will now undertake a review of the funding of drama provision across Scotland.

Labour MSP Pauline McNeill, whose constituency includes the RSAMD, had also urged the first minister to "take action on the issue before it is too late".

The announcement of the review has been welcomed by the RSAMD principal.

Professor John Wallace said: "While there are always financial pressures to be managed in any organisation, the academy is certainly in a stable financial position.

"The academy next week is to confirm staffing restructuring while retaining the quality learning experience it offers to our students."

Doctor Who backs academy campaign
13 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Students hope to strike a chord
01 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Appeal to MSPs over academy cuts
23 Apr 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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