THE Scottish Youth Theatre is to close in July its board has announced.

It comes after the institution lost out in the recent controversial funding decisions by Creative Scotland.

The theatre, whose famous alumni include Gerard Butler, Kate Dickie, Karen Gillan and a host of other leading actors, will pull the curtain down for the final time after more than 40 years.

SYT applied for regular funding (RFO) from Creative Scotland, but did not receive it and the “significant funding gap” has proved to be unbridgeable for the Glasgow-based company.

The company was not an RFO organisation from 2015-18, but was funded by Scottish Government money through Creative Scotland, worth £400,000, a sum which was announced by Alex Salmond, former First Minister in 2014.

A statement read: “In January this year, Scottish Youth Theatre learned that we had not been successful in our application for regular funding from Creative Scotland for the period 2018-21. This represents a gap of around a third of our required income.

“After the news from Creative Scotland we have worked on many business models, a variety of cost-cutting exercises and discussed how we can better collaborate to share costs and resources with like-minded organisations.

“However sadly, without a realistic expectation that we would be successful in securing financial support in such a limited time to meet the significant funding gap, we are left with no other realistic option but to cease trading on July 31, 2018.”

The group’s last works will include its National Ensemble, which will tour to four Scottish cities.

It will also continue with its summer courses and other activities until July.

The statement added: “If you are a current participant then the best way you can support us is by continuing to attend for the remainder of our time.”

A spokesman for Creative Scotland said: “We are disappointed to learn of Scottish Youth Theatre’s plans to cease trading later this year. Scottish Youth Theatre applied for Regular Funding for 2018-21, however, in a competitive process and within the limits of funds available, we were not able to support them through this funding route, but have been in discussions with them regarding alternative routes to support.

“Creative Scotland is fully committed to supporting access to creativity for young people through the organisations we fund across Scotland. Youth arts are well represented in the network of Regularly Funded Organisations, with more than 80 per cent of them including work with or for children and young people.

“Creative Scotland also provides extensive support for arts and young people through Open Project Funding and through multi-million pound Targeted Funding programmes.”