Over the past few years, Britain’s arts and cultural industries have suffered enormously at the hands of public spending cuts. Vital funds have been torn away from groups large and small, and often their only option is to shut down completely as a result of this. Just last week, one of Scotland’s most beloved theatre companies was informed that they are going to have a third of their public funding stripped. That obviously leaves a hefty hole in their income, and without drastic measures, they will be left with no option but to shut up shop completely once their current productions close.
But while the Scottish Youth Theatre is in a very difficult position right now, not everyone is willing to simply give up the fight. There’s a petition circulating around the web to try and convince Creative Scotland- the organization in charge of funding arts groups and projects- to reverse their decision, and restore the SYT’s funding. As a team of creatives ourselves, we at Soapbox were quick to add our voices to the crowd, but there’s another reason why we care about the Scottish Youth Theatre. Richmond Oaks, one of our more notable clients, have stepped up to provide the SYT with essential funding to keep running in the short term. If they hadn’t cofounded the summer ensemble tour, then it wouldn’t be able to go ahead, and the end of the Scottish Youth Theatre would be even more imminent. Richmond Oaks think that it’s disgraceful that such an integral part of the Scottish arts scene has been put in the position where they can’t afford to keep going- and thanks to this short-term funding, the SYT has a much better chance of finding an alternative way forward.
Don’t Let Others Suffer in Silence
We live in a world where social injustice can be found virtually everywhere you look. From the sorry state of the NHS due to public spending cuts, to the enormous number of children whose only hot meals come from free school dinners, there are so many people living in Scotland who are in desperate need of help. Yet few of them actually get that help, because most people would rather turn a blind eye than lend a hand. Fortunately, though, not everyone is like that- and Richmond Oaks, along with their trading style Debt Free Life, are doing their bit to improve people’s lives. That’s because as a debt management company, they regularly come into contact with people struggling to make ends meet. By seeing the real impact that such a situation has on people’s lives, they understand why it’s essential to offer such people a way out.
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the Scottish Youth Theatre is a cause that’s very close to Richmond Oaks’ hearts. After all, a huge number of the Theatre’s students come from disadvantaged homes, and it gives those students a valuable opportunity to make a change for the better. When they learned that Creative Scotland was stripping their funding, Richmond Oaks put up half of the money to fund the SYT’s summer ensemble tour, to at least allow them to see their current projects through to completion. The whole Soapbox team proud to work with a company who cares so much about others, especially since Richmond Oaks themselves aren’t getting anything back apart from the feeling of satisfaction that they are helping the SYT to keep going.
Giving the Young People of Scotland a Future
For more than four decades, the Scottish Youth Theatre has played a huge role in guiding young Scottish actors and actresses to the top. Big names like Billy Boyd and Gerard Butler once trod the boards with the SYT, and many have wound up lending a hand with training future generations of actors and actresses too. But the work of the Scottish Youth Theatre isn’t just about creating Hollywood A-listers. Their main focus is on reaching out to young people who might not have a lot of opportunities in life, and helping them to really grow as individuals while also honing their talent. Performing on stage is a fantastic way to gain confidence, and thousands upon thousands of Scots simply wouldn’t be the people they are today if it wasn’t for their time at the SYT.
It’s Time for You to Lend a Hand, Too
While the funding from Richmond Oaks has thrown the Scottish Youth Theatre a crucial lifeline, it’s not the end of the story. In order to give the SYT any hope of survival, then they need to convince Creative Scotland to reverse their decision, and restore the funding that they have previously relied on. If you agree with us that this is an issue that really matters, then there’s a way you can do your part to help save the STY. By taking a moment to sign the petition, you too can send a message to Creative Scotland that they should reconsider their funding plans, and provide the Scottish Youth Theatre with the money they need to keep going. At the time of writing, over 38,000 people have thrown themselves behind this cause- and it’s time for you to do the same. For a couple of minutes of your time, you can help to make sure that the young people of Scotland will always have a place to hone their acting skills – so we hope that you’ll do your bit to secure the existence of the SYT for generations to come.