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Eyes on the prize

As the Arts and Business Scotland Awards shortlist is announced we talk to the Traverse Theatre’s executive producer Linda Crooks

about the importance of the business world supporting the arts

A rts and Business Scotland is an organisation designed to help connect the commercial world with the cultural. This relationship is a two-way street, with creatives offering a variety of more interesting solutions to businesses, as well as businesses offering funds to arts organisations. It’s an increasingly optimistic-looking model for our times, one which has benefitted a range of individuals and institutions, including those shortlisted for the 25th anniversary Arts and Business Awards, which are due to be announced on 26 October.

Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre is one of those institutions, and it means a lot to the theatre to have the support of Arts and Business, as Linda Crooks explains:

‘The call for business involvement with the arts in Scotland has been proclaimed loudly over the past 25 years by Arts and Business Scotland and the response has been impressive. They’ve played a key role in developing arts/business relationships and have helped shape business perception of the possibilities available to them through working with the arts. Their role has evolved as arts organisations have become more business-minded but most significantly more recently as the economy has changed. ‘The partnership between the creative and the business communities is challenged by the straitened economic circumstances we now all face. This is precisely why now is the time for the business community to look to the arts for inspiration and innovation the arts lead us to open



our minds and think about our lives differently. The arts bring diverse groups together who can learn from each other, no matter what sector, experience or background. We are doing this from an international level to local. We are an essential part of the solution.

‘The Traverse Theatre has benefited from excellent business partnerships over its (coming up for 50 years in 2013) life span, including on important community projects like our OutWrite (pictured) prisons playwriting programme, supported by Scott & Co. OutWrite gave inmates from Polmont Prison the opportunity to work with theatre professionals to write and develop their own plays and then have them performed by professional actors in front of a live audience at the Traverse Theatre. ‘Feedback from participants in the project was extremely positive: “I now know I can scriptwrite when I never thought of it before. Plus now my Mum and family are even more proud of me for doing it and doing a lot of things including this that can change my life,” said an inmate, aged 16 at HMYOI Polmont.

‘Projects like OutWrite show that if businesses can be stimulated through their involvement with the arts, then it’s ultimately good for business, the economy and our society.’ See for more, and read a longer version of Linda Crook’s comments at




WHAT WE SAID: ‘This follow-up [to Interiors] offers a wordless peek into lit rooms, with intertwining narratives but this piece doesn’t deliver the emotional impact of its predecessor. . . where Interiors, in its quieter moments, offered a lucid and deeply moving insight into the loneliness of human interaction, this piece lacks direction and feels overly preoccupied with inconsequential matters . . .’ THE LIST

WHAT THEY SAID: ‘Lenton and his team have constructed an exquisitely realised mediation on life and death. At its most comically absurd, the juxtaposition of sound and image recalls episodes of Pink Panther.’ THE HERALD ‘Looking stunning on Kai Fischer’s set and performed with tremendous precision by the six-strong cast, it adds up to a production that is as captivating as it is unusual.’ NORTHINGS

20 Oct–17 Nov 2011 THE LIST 9