Grangemouth circus school founder calls on government to help live events shine

The founder of a Grangemouth-based circus school is among a group of performers calling on the Scottish Government to play a supporting role in enabling the live events industry to shine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

By Jonathon Reilly
Friday, 23rd October 2020, 7:00 am

Miriam Wolanski was part of a crew of climbers who went to extreme heights to light up Ben Nevis and draw attention to the difficulties facing Scotland’s “diverse arts culture”.

The Wolanski's Pole and Aerial Fitness owner – herself an aerialist, production manager and technician – insists much more must be done by those in power to help those whose careers are dedicated to providing entertainment and joy to others.

With her industry largely shut down, Ms Wolanski has urged the government to offer a date the sector can begin working towards for a safe reopening.

Miriam Wolanski, Wolanski's Pole and Aerial Fitness owner. Picture: Alan Murray.

She would also like permission to be granted for controlled indoor gigs, as well as subsidies to help venues run at reduced capacity.

On the Ben Nevis effort, Ms Wolanski said: “We wanted to create something eye-catching but also to represent Scotland as a home for diversity and as multicultural.

"We used blue beams to represent Scotland and then switched to multi colours on the summit while lighting the cairn.

Miriam Wolanski was among a team of climbers who lit up Ben Nevis to highlight the live events industry's need for support during the coronavirus pandemic. Contributed.

“We continue to celebrate different nationalities and welcome the day we can celebrate once more together at our festivals.

“We are holding up a beacon to stand in solidarity with all of those affected on a global scale.

“We can get back to work safely, we just need the opportunity and the support to do it. We can work safely with the guidelines being issued, but many companies and venues are now closing since they were the first people out of work and therefore the last to come back.

“Many feel they have been forgotten about or that what they do is deemed now non-viable by the government. This sector is worth over £1 billion to the UK economy.

The cairn of Ben Nevis was lit up in various colours by the group. Contributed.

“We need to get Scotland's live events heart beating once more.”

Providing “better grants” rather than loans is one way Ms Wolanski feels the government can improve the industry’s lot.

She added: “The present financial support schemes are limiting and many freelancers in particular are not eligible due to the criteria set out on the forms.”

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