An Elgin theatre company that offers adults with learning difficulties opportunities to become involved in the arts has been praised by Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi.
Mr Biagi saw first-hand the benefits of giving people the power to make their own decisions during a tour of the Out of the Darkness Theatre Company’s (ODTC) Elgin studios on Wednesday.
The ODTC uses theatre to tackle hard-hitting subjects like domestic abuse and dementia, and provides technical theatre, performance and media training for adults with learning disabilities.
In order to strengthen its service the ODTC is now going through an asset transfer and looking to purchase Moray Council’s former office on Academy Street.
Mr Biagi also set out his commitment to working effectively with local authorities and explained how the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill would strengthen community planning and participation after meeting with Moray Council’s leader and chief executive.
He said: “The Out of the Darkness Theatre Company is exactly the type of project we want to see flourish in communities across Scotland.
“It’s fantastic to see first-hand how theatre and the arts can really bring communities together, promote social inclusion, challenge public perception and boost people’s confidence.
“As we can see from ODTC communities are the ones who know best how to improve their area and tackle inequalities. By transferring assets into community ownership and making sure buildings are not standing empty local areas are being given a new lease of life.
“Our Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill will strengthen and nurture this community participation and place the wellbeing of communities at the heart of community planning.”
The leader of Moray Council, Councillor Stewart Cree, added: “Out of the Darkness is a well-established theatre company which deals with often difficult social issues in a powerful and insightful way.
“The company offers opportunities for many who might not ordinarily have access to this form of self-expression and provides significant development opportunities for its cast and crew.
“I have been privileged to attend a number of their productions over the past 10 years and have always been moved by the sincerity and relevance of what they do.”