End of Lemon Tree lunchtime music

A funding shortfall has forced Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) to cut back its programme at the city’s Lemon Tree.

The charitable company is determined to keep the popular city centre venue open, despite reduced funding, and has reluctantly decided to end the free lunchtime music sessions from February 19 in order to reduce costs.

The current level of national and local funding received by APA is only 75% of that granted to the previous operators of The Lemon Tree before it went out of business in 2007.

Despite making significant efficiency savings, APA has been unable to operate the venue within its reduced grants, despite increasing attendances and record activity levels. Without any offer of funding as yet from Creative Scotland for 2012/13 and facing a further 5% cut in its grant from Aberdeen City Council, APA has no option but to seek savings in The Lemon Tree’s operating costs. The company hopes, however, that that the situation may improve once Creative Scotland’s new Strategic Commissioning investment programme comes on stream.

APA chief executive Duncan Hendry explained: “We have reluctantly decided to discontinue The Lemon Tree’s lunchtime sessions on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in order to close the funding gap.

“This will allow us to continue our extensive core programme of music, drama and dance in the studio and lounge in the evenings.”

He added: “We will be lodging funding applications with Creative Scotland over the coming months in the hope of being able to secure programme and project funding. However, due to the transitional nature of Creative Scotland investment, there are currently no opportunities to secure revenue funding for the Lemon Tree.”