Mull crisis ‘could hit Argyll and Bute arts scene’

Mull Theatre's last visit to Bute was with its production of Michael Healey's play The Drawer Boy in October 2013. The cast included Alasdair McCrone (pictured on stage as Barrie), who has now been made redundant as the organisation's creative director.
Mull Theatre's last visit to Bute was with its production of Michael Healey's play The Drawer Boy in October 2013. The cast included Alasdair McCrone (pictured on stage as Barrie), who has now been made redundant as the organisation's creative director.

A crisis in the arts scene on the island of Mull could have dire consequences for the artistic sector throughout Argyll and Bute and beyond.

So says Bute resident Eileen Rae, formerly Argyll and Bute Council’s arts development officer, following the departure of two key figures in the Mull arts scene who, it’s claimed, have been forced out of their jobs due to a funding crisis.

Alasdair McCrone, the long-serving artistic director of Mull Theatre, and Gordon McLean, his counterpart at the An Tobar arts centre in Tobermory, were made redundant by the Comar arts trust, which was created in 2013 to bring the two organisations together.

“Comar was created to support what Mull Theatre and An Tobar could do in a wider context,” Ms Rae told The Buteman.

“But my concern is that there’s a new focus to Comar which doesn’t relate to the island community on Mull or the wider Argyll community.

“Mull Theatre has performed at Rothesay Pavilion many times in the past - what’s going to happen at the new Pavilion if we don’t have them coming back to Bute?”

Comar said the redundancies were the result of funding restrictions, but officials from the actors’ union Equity have blamed Comar’s own financial mismanagement for the crisis.