Highlands & Islands Theatre Network
The Highlands & Islands Theatre Network is a consortium of professional theatre companies, operating principally in the Highland Council, Moray Council and Argyll and Bute Council areas. It also includes among its members a number of agencies with a direct interest in the development of professional theatre in the Highlands and Islands.
In 1994, a range of key funding agencies took a joint policy decision not to create a single ‘Highland Theatre Company’, but instead seek to nurture the organic growth of professional theatre in the Highlands and Islands.
Over the course of 2000, twelve Highlands and Islands based touring theatre companies performed on a total of 279 occasions in upwards of 40 different venues throughout the Highlands and Islands. This growth has been assisted through a funding partnership between Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Arts Council. Under the heading of the ‘Highland Producers Fund’, this scheme, now in its fifth year, has supported the development and touring of a wide range of productions by many members of the Network. Check the Highland Producers’ Fund page for more information.
In 2001, a new stage in development was reached, with Grey Coast Theatre Company in Caithness being taken onto the SAC Advancement Programme, and Mull Theatre in Argyll being awarded core administration funding by the SAC for a year. Only one other Highlands and Islands company, the Gaelic Theatre Company Tosg, has to date received core administration funding on an annual basis from the SAC. All other Network members must seek project funding to be able to undertake any work at all, and this places immense strains, both creative and administrative, on the key individuals involved.
The members of the Network therefore believe that this is a crucial time in which to attempt to raise professional theatre in the Highlands and Islands to a new level of stability.