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Theatre scraps drama qualification as cuts begin to bite

Karen Gillan
Karen Gillan

The north’s biggest theatre has scrapped the teaching of a drama qualification, blaming a cut in their budget by Highland Council.

Eden Court will stop running their SVQ National 5 drama qualification with immediate effect and have warned that other classes may be at risk.

The arts centre has had its grant supplied by Highland Council cut by £100,000.

Bosses at the theatre say that they had only been warned to expect a cut of £59,000.

In a statement released yesterday, Eden Court said it was “acutely aware” of the impact on school students that cutting the drama class would have but said it could no “longer afford to subsidise the delivery of this qualification”.

A spokeswoman for the theatre said: “Some of our former pupils have gone onto dance and acting careers and our creative ambassador, and former Higher drama pupil, Karen Gillan is known throughout the world as the star of Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy.

“These courses were originally fully funded by Highland Council. However, successive grant reductions and rising costs mean that in the current academic year delivering these qualifications will cost Eden Court £15,000 more than the funding Highland Council has provided.”

She added: “That gap is set to rise to £19,000 for the next academic year. It is therefore with great regret that we have made the decision to not deliver National 5 drama this year and to restrict some of the travel subsidy available to Higher drama and Higher dance students in an attempt to deliver these courses for closer to the amount of funding that Highland Council is able to offer. This action will save us between £11,000 and £13,000.”

“We had to make this particular decision quickly as pupils are currently considering their options for next year. It is regrettable that stopping the National 5 course will impact on those students who have previously used it as a stepping stone to Higher.”

She added: “However, although we can commit to delivering both Higher dance and drama in 2016/2017 we may have to consider if we can continue to deliver these subjects beyond that point.”

The council’s budget leader Councillor Bill Fernie said: “The impact is that one course goes, but we save the two Higher courses, dance and drama.

“It is regrettable that Eden Court have had to take this decision but in the light of their reduced funding following the huge cuts Highland council has had to make then there does not appear to be any alternative.”

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