NICOLA Sturgeon has committed the Scottish Government to finding a way through coronavirus for the country’s arts sector. 

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said the success of the sector was “fundamental to the health and well-being” of Scotland. 

Her comments came as Perth’s Horsecross Arts opened talks with staff that could result in up to 120 job losses.

The group, who run Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall, say the continued uncertainty surrounding live performances and plans to wind down the furlough scheme between August and October have left them with little choice but to start the redundancy process. 

Earlier this month, Pitlochry Theatre announced it had also been forced to make half of its staff members redundant.

Asked at the daily briefing if there would be a future for the arts in Scotland after Coronavirus, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said she was “determined” there would be, and that she was “on the case” with Horsecross Arts. 

The minister also revealed that she had spoken with finance secretary, Kate Forbes about “what room to manoeuvre” to help fund the “longer term support” for Scotland’s theatre sector and music venues. 

Hyslop said it wasn’t just about the buildings, and the institutions but the workforce, and the freelancers who depend on Scotland’s cultural sector. 

She added: “I am absolutely determined that we will have a flourishing theatre sector, and an art sector that will be something that we can all look forward to when we come through this very very difficult period”. 

Sturgeon added: “Arts and culture - and that includes theatre but it's much broader than that - is not just really important to our economy and to our international reputation, a flourishing arts and culture sector is fundamental to the health and well being of our country.

“Scotland without a flourishing arts and culture sector is not a Scotland any of us would want to see. So there is a real commitment here on behalf of the government.”

The First Minister said she didn’t “underestimate the difficulty of the challenges” adding that there would be “some tough discussions and tough decisions along the way”.

Sturgeon added: “The government is full square behind, not just our theatre sector but arts and culture, generally because it is such a fundamentally important part of our country, and who we are as a country.”