|The remains of the tigh dubh, the small house by the shore at Iochdar,|
South Uist, where Angus McPhee was born and lived as a young man
As work on creating a touring theatre show about Angus McPhee continues at homes and workshops in Lancashire, Caithness and on Berneray, it's worth taking a short pause to say that on Wednesday, between 7.30 and 9.30 in the morning, Horse + Bamboo Theatre will receive an email from the Arts Council of England telling us if our funding will continue – or if it will be cut.
All regularly funded arts organisations in England will be receiving similar emails, and we're told that the decision in each case will be an either/or one – i.e. no half-way houses; you're either successful or not. If unsuccessful there's still 12 months funding at current levels guaranteed, but after that Arts Council funding will finish.
How will this affect our work on the Angus McPhee show?
Well, the current work on the show is being paid for by a research and development grant from the Foyle Foundation, to whom – many, many thanks. The fees to Alison and myself are met from the current grant to Horse + Bamboo. This work will take us through to May, when we visit Berneray and Uist and the various artist partners on the project will meet and come together at Berneray Community Hall for a week. After that our making work on the show will slow right down, but Helen will continue to fund-raise for the next stages of Angus, and Esther will start selling a tour of the show. If the news next week is good, then our plans will continue precisely along these lines. If we receive bad news then no doubt our Board will want to meet and decide on an alternative plan. In theory though, there's no reason why Angus should not be available to go into rehearsal and then tour during the summer of 2012. This will be subject to raising the money (and getting bookings for the show) but that will be the case no matter what scenario unfolds on and after Wednesday, as our core funding nowadays doesn't cover the costs of creating or touring our work.
Fingers crossed then.