Funding for National Arts bodies: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

  • What funding has been given to the RSNO, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet & National Theatre of Scotland by the Sottish Government since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
  • The amount of funding given to each body since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
  • The reasoning behind any funding given to these bodies since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
  • The criteria for distributing any funding to national arts bodies since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.


The answer to your question is since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland have received the instalments of their core grant for April, May and June 2020. The annual grant awards to the National Performing Companies were approved in the 2020/21 Scottish Budget and grant agreements put in place just as the effects of lockdown were starting to be felt. The annual grant awards for the four companies included in your request are:

Royal Scottish National Orchestra £3,961,000
Scottish Ballet £4,369,000
Scottish Opera £8,000,000
National Theatre of Scotland £4,174,000

We are keeping all grants under review as the COVID response develops. The amounts of instalments paid since the Covid-19 pandemic took place are as follows:
Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO)
April 2020 £330,000
May 2020 £580,000
June 2020 £330,000

Scottish Ballet
April 2020 £364,084
May 2020 £364,084
June 2020 £364,084

Scottish Opera
April 2020 £3,000,000
May 2020 £1,000,000
June 2020 £700,000

National Theatre of Scotland (NToS)
April 2020 £400,000
May 2020 £400,000
June 2020 £400,000

These payments have been made in accordance with the schedule of payments of core grant, which is agreed in advance as part of the Scottish Government’s funding agreement with each of the named organisations.

Some of the information you have requested is available online as the Scottish Government is proud to be honouring its funding commitments to the National Performing Companies, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and the National Theatre of Scotland, regardless of activity being cancelled or rescheduled, as the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture reported in a letter to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee dated 24 April 2020 and available on the Scottish Parliament website at:
and further commented on in her evidence to the Committee on 21 May 2020. A transcript is available at:

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy. 

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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