Ayr’s Gaiety Theatre has outlined its work in the community over the past year, as it prepares to ask councillors for another financial support package.

In March the Ayr Gaiety Partnership (AGP) asked South Ayrshire Council (SAC) to ‘invest’ £450,000 over the next three years to ensure the theatre remains viable as it continued to struggle amid covid restrictions.

SAC had already given AGP £335,000 plus £200,000 in Covid recovery funds over the last three years.

It had also secured a £650,000 loan for the AGP, which is being repaid.

At the time Gaiety Theatre chief executive Jeremy Wyatt said that they would not only need considerable financial support for the next three years, but well into the future.

It was decided that the council would not be in a position to grant more money until after May’s local elections.

The request will return to Cabinet this month.

Before that the Service and Performance Panel will hear from the AGP about its last 12 months.

In its report to the panel, the AGP outlined some of its successes.

It delivered, the report states:

  • Over £5 income for every £1 of Council support
  • Helped local groups secure  £100,000 of new money from the Scottish Government’s
  • Community Recovery Fund
  • 14 permanent jobs retained
  • 110 freelancers employed
  • 22,000 people entertained
  • Engaged around 1,000 people in the community
  • Secured £1.031m from other sources including ticket income

The statement quotes former Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop, who said: “Culture is central to who we are. It is Scotland’s strength. This is why it must be valued first and foremost in and of itself – that is to say culture is worth more than any financial value that can be placed on it.”

The report continues: “In these terms AGP continued to deliver in South Ayrshire over 2021-22. The organisation’s economic impact is usually greater than over this period – because much of the activity was in communities and online.

“However from September there was a gradual return to activity on the stage as well, and that has started to reassert economic impact too.”

The AGP highlighted the effort to focus on local talent and communities.

It pointed to the last two pantos it produced, which were ‘created specially for Ayr, with a Scottish creative team and cast’.

“In economic terms this keeps more of the benefit locally. And the increased artistic quality was recognized nationally with four star reviews across the media for the lives show and film.”

Other shows toured across the three Ayrshire authorities, utilising funding from Creative Scotland to bring artists to communities which have found access to cultural activities low.

It also helped Ayrshire Women’s Hub secure new premises and interim funding to the tune of more than £40k.

The AGP report concludes: “Despite all the challenges of funding uncertainty, The Gaiety is emerging from the pandemic as a stronger organization with a much enhanced and expanded range of activity.

“Our new Creative Engagement wing, involving some of Scotland’s most exciting theatre-makers, is all about working in and with communities."

The AGP says it aims to deliver a number of projects, dependent on South Ayrshire Council backing.

This includes:

  • Working with care experienced young people and people with dementia
  • Increase range of actively on the main theatre stage
  • Reopen studio for performances
  • Restart rural touring programme
  • Start a new programme for local theatre makers
  • Host the National Festival of Youth Theatre with SAC
  • Support delivery of Tamfest