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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Actors join bid to save company
Gregor Fisher and Elaine C Smith
Gregor Fisher and Elaine C Smith both trod the boards with Borderline
An Ayrshire-based theatre company has stepped up its campaign to prevent closure after losing its funding.

Borderline, which nurtured the talents of actors Billy Connolly, Gregor Fisher and Robbie Coltrane, has finance for just three more productions.

The company has put on performances for the past 30 years, but the Scottish Arts Council withdrew funding after concerns about the quality of its work.

Former members, including Elaine C Smith, are offering their support.

The company has been receiving 210,000 a year from the arts council.

However, the SAC says it now wants to concentrate on stronger organisations.

It's time for us all to stand up and say this company actually means something to us and to the people of west central Scotland
Elaine C Smith

Producer Eddie Jackson said the arts council was prioritising organisations that do less accessible work.

"There is a place for everything in this broad church," he said.

"And I think the elimination of three of the major touring companies that actually are accessible and reach audiences is a fundamental flaw in their thinking."

He added: "I think we've got a really strong argument for continuing support.

"I'm sure the arts council would not like to lose the essence of what Borderline's about.

"They've got to really rethink this whole idea of ecology of the arts in Scotland."

Elaine C Smith is among those calling for the arts council to reverse its decision.

Borderline actors
The company has been staging performances for 30 years

"If I thought that what Borderline was doing wasn't relevant, that they'd lost their way, I don't think the answer would necessarily be to cut their funding," she said.

"I think the answer is 'what can we do to help? What can we do to make it grow? How can fund it to make it more relevant'."

She urged actors who had worked with the company to lend their support.

"It's time for us all to stand up and say this company actually means something to us and to the people of west central Scotland," she added.

In a statement, the SAC said: "We have expressed concern about the quality of Borderline's work and have spoken to the organisation about this on a number of occasions.

"It was this concern that was at the root of this decision which was considered in detail by officers, committee and council when balancing the needs of artists and audiences."

See why actors think the company should be saved

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