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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 18:41 GMT 19:41 UK
Scottish national theatre backed
Stage door
The Scottish Executive also backs plans for the theatre
The Scottish Arts Council has backed plans for the establishment of a national theatre for Scotland.

Its chairman, James Boyle, made a plea for further investment to make the theatre a reality, saying the plans depended on "greater investment in the current provision in drama".

The concept of a national theatre has also received backing from the Scottish Executive in its national cultural strategy.

Mr Boyle said the council intended to work with the executive to create "a brilliant and dynamic" national theatre with an international reputation.

Scottish Opera
Scotland's diverse arts include Scottish Opera
During its bi-monthly meeting in Edinburgh the council, which receives an annual grant from the executive, urged ministers to provide an extra £4m in funding for drama next year.

It also distributed nearly £3m to theatres in Aberdeen, Dundee and Nairn.

Mr Boyle made his comments as the council published its report on the proposed theatre.

The report said the council needed an extra £4m next year to develop it and carry through the executive's national cultural strategy.

The plea for extra cash came in response to a consultation on the executive¿s draft budget for 2002/03, which offered no increase in funding for the arts.

New productions

Mr Boyle said the theatre would draw on the current infrastructure, rejecting calls by some in the arts community for a new theatre building with its own actors.

Its "main objective" would be to commission companies, directors and performers to put on productions at home and abroad, as well as encouraging a strong network of regional theatres.

Scottish Arts Council director Tessa Jackson added that were the funding to be granted, the arts council would use £1.2m for the national theatre and £1m to develop existing organisations.

A further £1m would be divided between developing new technology resources and boosting opportunities for Scots to work abroad.

Resources

The remaining cash would deliver the national cultural strategy commitments on education while offering increased support for the creative industries.

A spokeswoman for the executive said: "In the last spending review the arts council was given an additional £15.2m over the next three years.

"This included £2m for the possible setting up of a national theatre.

"It is for the Scottish Arts Council to decide how best to use these resources."

See also:

19 Mar 01 | Scotland
Cash boost for Scottish pop
13 Jul 01 | Scotland
Music projects sound the right note
02 Jan 01 | Scotland
A year of drama and more to come
16 Aug 00 | Scotland
Scottish cultural plan unveiled
01 Oct 99 | Scotland
Plans to put culture on curriculum
24 Aug 98 | Edinburgh Festival
Scottish arts takes up role of wealth of the nation
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