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Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax

Wednesday 27th October 2010
All the same we'll shout and cry, Stretching all our throats with song, Shouting, crying, all day long. This you shall not beat us in! Courtesy: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/frogs.html

Gaberlunzie has never forgotten his first attendance at a performance of The Puddocks of Aristophanes in the original Byre Theatre, St Andrews. In those days, the dressing room was above the theatre, which seated around 80-100 people.

An entrance could be made onto the stage from stage left, or from walking down the centre aisle between the audience. But stage right exit was into a dead end cupboard.

Whoever went out that way, had to return to the stage by the same route. It was among the most memorable of many theatres he has been lucky enough to attend.

But he sees now with some puzzlement that The Byre Theatre is having to appeal against the Scottish Arts Council's refusal to continue flexible funding support beyond next April.

An independent committee for Creative Scotland, which succeeded the Arts Council, has rejected its pleas. Flexible funding is worth £160,000 a year to the five-star arts attraction in St Andrews, accounting for almost 14% of its annual turnover of £1.2m.

Theatre CEO (left)  Jacqueline McKay warned its loss would affect jobs and its work. Meetings with Creative Scotland seek ways towards a safe future.

Theatre board chairman Frank Quinalt said "The Byre is extremely disappointed that its appeal has not been upheld. The Byre made a very strong case for continued support."

In just three years, audience figures at the Byre Theatre, which is given £290,000 a year by its biggest funder Fife Council, have more than doubled to from 55,000 to 103,000.

"It's clear that our audiences have voted with their feet and the Byre looks forward to presenting Creative Scotland with a very strong case for continued cultural investment in Fife," said McKay.

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