Unanimous decision that the show must go on at BYT

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Borders Youth Theatre is continuing, despite funding problems and lack of volunteers that threatened to bring the curtain down permanently.

At an emergency meeting held last week, a proposal to wind up the 25-year-old organisation, whose patron is Judy Steel, was ditched and members of the group will reconstitute as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).

These were the two options that had been placed before the board, with the proposal to wind up the theatre group gaining no votes, and the alternative to form an SCIO being carried unanimously.

The proviso for the latter option being feasible was to have eight people willing to make up the board of the new SCIO by the end of April.

This was achieved by current members being willing to continue and gaining four more volunteers. An interim board will see through the changes and its main priority now is to raise as much funding as possible and increase the organisation’s profile within the community.

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation is a legal format that allows a charitable organisation enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued.

This also provides a high degree of protection against liability.

BYT receives minimal regular core funding, which last year amounted to just £8,000 from Scottish Borders Council.

The total amount of money needed to run BYT – including all administration costs for three productions per year, plus workshops, is a minimum of £30,000 every year.

BYT administrator Judy Collins says everyone is delighted the organisation is continuing, commenting: “It’s great we are carrying on. The vote to carry on as an SCIO was unanimous, which was fantastic, and we now have eight volunteers for the interim board.

“We will now be focusing on raising the profile of Borders Youth Theatre and raising funds to make sure we get things back on an even keel.”

Next week, BYT will be performing The Edelweiss Pirates – part of the National Theatre’s Connections initiative, which is an annual festival of new plays for youth theatres and schools.

It runs at the MacArts Centre in Galashiels on February 19, 20 and 21.

There is also a fundraising coffee morning at Tweedbank Community Centre on February 28.