She was recently awarded a grant from Lloyds Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), to run a programme enabling Tale Spinners to create a show of their own.
A previous grant through the Vital Spark programme enabled Alison to buy lighting equipment and other equipment to stage professional puppet shows in small halls.
Alison, who has a wealth of experience in theatre, visual arts, puppetry and music, has organised numerous productions on the island and throughout Scotland and runs workshops to train people in the craft of making puppets, including taking part in the recent Isle of Bute Artists Collective trail of local artists.
Her work often focuses on Celtic legends and themes, appealing to visitors to Bute as well as the local community.
Alison said: “Puppets reach people that other forms of cultural activity don’t. Being part of the Vital Spark programme takes things to another level and you start thinking in a bigger way. I am delighted to receive the Lloyds Bank of Scotland funding to work with Talespinners".
Triple Aspect has had a busy year, creating a show in Tobermory on Mull, a “live-hand” dragon puppet for Butefest, and performing at the Largs Viking Festival as well as several commissions.
Alison is now busy making puppets for their Christmas show, “Whee! Ginger” and has recently taken on an apprentice.
She said: “I could never have done any of this without the support of the Vital Spark programme and Firstport. Being part of Vital Spark takes things to another level and you start thinking in a bigger way. I have learnt so much through their programmes and workshops – including how to apply for grants all by myself – although I was really glad of the input I got from Angela Hogg, Vital Spark programme manager.”
Alison also featured in a recent film made about the Vital Spark initiative, which is delivered by Firstport in partnership with InspirAlba and Unltd Scotland. The three–year programme, supported by Calmac along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, aims to build enterprising local cultures where emerging social entrepreneurs can flourish while generating skills and revenue that support themselves and their communities.
Vital Spark now has around 23 early stage social enterprises including Triple Aspect Theatre Company, many trading with their own premises, employing staff and delivering social impact to improve their local communities in Argyll and Bute.
Link to Vital Spark film: https://youtu.be/P1NmmRFj5Ds
Established in 2007, Firstport is Scotland’s development agency for start-up social enterprise. We offer a full package of free business support and resources that includes start-up funds, business advice, practical tools and connections.
Firstport delivers an awards programme, which distributes money from the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund. Firstport is also part of the Just Enterprise consortium, with responsibility for providing business support to start-up social enterprises across Scotland. Firstport has supported over 800 budding social entrepreneurs and helped to create two new social enterprises every week. More information is available at www.firstport.org.uk