Urgent talks held on Mull arts crisis

Creative Scotland is the main funder of Mull arts organisation Comar.
Creative Scotland is the main funder of Mull arts organisation Comar.

Talks have taken place this week in a bid to find a solution to an arts crisis on Mull which, it’s been warned, could have dire consequences for the cultural landscape across Argyll and Bute and beyond.

The talks were held after a decision to replace the director’s posts held by Alasdair McCrone, of Mull Theatre, and Gordon McLean, of the arts centre An Tobar, on umbrella body COMAR with a single directorial role.

Representatives of Comar have met Argyll and Bute Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the area’s MSP Michael Russell in the last few days to discuss the crisis after residents of Mull voiced fears at a lack of local involvement in the organisation.

A spokesperson for Creative Scotland, the government body which is Comar’s main funder, said: “Creative Scotland welcomes the strong commitment that the Mull community is showing to its cultural assets.

“Creative Scotland, the ‘shadow board’ and COMAR all wish to see a solution to the present dispute which will restore local membership to the Board, rebuild confidence in the merged company and chart a way forward for COMAR which has the active support of the community.

“To achieve these aims Creative Scotland recognises that the community wish the current board and management of COMAR to enter into discussion with the aim of appointing local directors to the board of COMAR as a matter of urgency.”

Mull Theatre regularly tours venues across Argyll and Bute; the organisation’s last visit to Rothesay was with the Michael Healey play The Drawer Boy in October 2013.