A unique Bute-based business has been granted funding to work with a creative writing group on the island.
The Triple Aspect Puppet Theatre was set up in Rothesay in 2015 by Alison Clark, with start-up funding and support from social enterprise agency Firstport’s Vital Spark programme.
Alison’s workshop is based on Deanhood Place in Rothesay and is open from Monday to Saturday.
And now the theatre has been granted £3000 to work with the Tale Spinners, also based on Bute.
She was awarded a grant from the Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), to run a programme enabling Tale Spinners to create a show of their own.
A previous grant through the Vital Spark programme enabled Alison to buy lighting equipment and other equipment to stage professional puppet shows in small halls.
Alison, who has a wealth of experience in theatre, visual arts, puppetry and music, has organised numerous productions on the island and throughout Scotland and runs workshops to train people in the craft of making puppets, including taking part in the recent Isle of Bute Artists Collective trail of local artists.
Her work often focuses on Celtic legends and themes, appealing to visitors to Bute as well as the local community.
Alison said: “Puppets reach people that other forms of cultural activity don’t. I am delighted to receive the Bank of Scotland funding to work with Tale Spinners. As well as helping them to create a show from their own work, they will also learn how to make their own puppets.”
Triple Aspect has had a busy year, creating a show in Tobermory on Mull, a ‘live-hand’ dragon puppet for Butefest in the summer, and performing at the Largs Viking Festival as well as several commissions.
Alison is now busy making puppets for their Christmas show, ‘Whee! Ginger’ and has recently taken on an apprentice.
She said: “I could never have done any of this without the support of the Vital Spark programme and Firstport. Being part of Vital Spark takes things to another level and you start thinking in a bigger way.
“I have learnt so much through their programmes and workshops – including how to apply for grants all by myself – although I was really glad of the input I got from Angela Hogg, Vital Spark’s programme manager.”
Alison also featured in a recent film made about the Vital Spark initiative, which is delivered by Firstport in partnership with InspirAlba and Unltd Scotland. The three–year programme, supported by Calmac along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, aims to build enterprising local cultures where emerging social entrepreneurs can flourish while generating skills and revenue that support themselves and their communities.
Vital Spark now has around 23 early stage social enterprises including Triple Aspect Theatre Company, many trading with their own premises, employing staff and delivering social impact to improve their local communities in Argyll and Bute.