An Update From Macrobert

18th August 2020

Macrobert Arts centre logo corporate

Since the COVID-19 crisis forced the closure of Macrobert on 16 March 2020 the most pressing need has been to survive. Over the years a unique blend of live performance, cinema, exhibitions, activities, and social gatherings - made and shared by people of all ages, from all backgrounds, from across the Forth Valley region and beyond – has evolved. This collective celebration of people and their stories is Macrobert Arts Centre which was staffed to deliver activities 363 days a year. The immediate threat resulting from the sudden loss of earnings which make up 60% of our total income is very real.

In order to survive it was critical that Macrobert immediately entered a period in which we ran at minimal cost. We achieved this with only 4 of our usual team regularly working whilst we supported c. 36 other staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We focused on conserving our financial support from Creative Scotland and University of Stirling whilst trying to secure additional funding.

In recognition of the desperate need of our country’s performing arts sector the Scottish Government first gave £10M to the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund to:

  • remove the threat of insolvency to enable the development and delivery of activity as soon as practicable;
  • allow for specialist/core staff to return from furlough or avoid redundancy to work on future sustainable activity plans; and
  • increase commissioning and employment opportunities for freelance artists and creative practitioners to support continued public engagement.

This funding is for the period to the end March 2021.  

Macrobert, a Creative Scotland Regular Funded Organisation, applied for and was granted £485,213. This funding has removed the threat of insolvency and will bring most of the staff back to work so that we can:

  • present cinema at Macrobert;
  • deliver an extensive programme of creative and social activity;
  • plan for a sustainable future with our community;
  • engage volunteers in a mental health support project;
  • explore and present new ways to entertain our audiences out with the venue; and
  • deliver a practitioners as leaders programme.  

Sadly, this funding does not replace our earned income. The impact of our lost income, brought about by closure, is that we have had to go through a consultation process with staff. At the end of this process, some staff will work reduced hours and 5 posts have been made redundant. These 5 posts are made up of 1 Marketing post, 1 Venue and Projects (Hires) post, 2 Technical posts, and 1 Technical fixed-term post (Maternity Leave Cover).

It is terrible position to be in that dedicated and skilled people will lose their jobs because of COVID-19 closure and the resulting uncertain future for live performance.  All those connected to Macrobert will feel this deeply, as will others in similar situations in venues throughout Scotland.

Our commitment to everyone is that we will bring Macrobert through this period until live performances are legally permitted, economically viable, and safe to deliver. We will deliver our charitable purposes “to advance, promote, maintain and improve education, participation and enjoyment of the arts.” and “to advance and promote the education of primarily, but not exclusively, young people in Scotland through the promotion of the arts and performance related skills and media”.

The Future is uncertain. By adapting to the needs of our time we can ensure a future for Macrobert though. Thanks to the ongoing commitment of our funders and supporters it is possible for us to explore new, safe, and sustainable ways to offer arts experiences and participatory opportunities to all those which Macrobert Arts Centre serves.

We remain a place for the people and the stories of Stirling and the Forth Valley.




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