Scotland’s culture minister Angus Robertson ‘shares concerns’ over £84,000 funding for ‘explicit’ sex project Rein | UK News

Scotland’s culture secretary has told Holyrood he shares the concerns raised over a decision to award more than £84,000 of public money to an explicit arts project involving “non-simulated” sex performances.

A total of £84,555 was awarded to director Leonie Rae Gasson for the development of Rein in the January round of Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Open Fund.

The project’s website describes it as a 45-minute multi-screen, moving image installation that “immerses audiences in a raucous communal exploration of dyke sexuality”.

It has come under scrutiny as the show’s climax has been advertised as a “secret cave sex party”.

Participants over the age of 18 have been called to get involved, with budding performers offered £270 per day to take part in a range of scenes – including “snogging”, “vanilla sex” and “more hardcore acts”.

It has been billed as a “pro-sex and pro-sex work/er project”, with those with experience in the porn industry encouraged to apply.

After Rein hit the headlines at the weekend, Creative Scotland issued a statement saying the project’s application did not indicate how explicit the art installation would be.

The funding is now being reviewed.

‘I share the concerns that have been raised’

During topical questions at the Scottish parliament on Tuesday, Angus Robertson, cabinet secretary for constitution, external affairs and culture, said: “I share the concerns that have been raised, including by Creative Scotland itself.

“I can see no way where what has been described should be in receipt of public funding.

“As members are aware, the Scottish government has no role in the decisions of Creative Scotland for the funding of individual projects.

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“However, Creative Scotland are, I understand, rapidly reviewing this allocation as they have been clear what has been reported simply does not meet what the funding was applied for.”

Mr Robertson said he looks forward to Creative Scotland “sharing its conclusions” and will update MSPs “soon”.

On Ms Gasson’s website, Rein is described as: “Slipping between realities of imagination and otherworld, the real and the fantastical, the work takes us on a journey of discovery and belonging, and an exploration of the embodiment of different forms of dykehood.”

It is scheduled to premiere in the autumn of 2025.

Sky News contacted Glasgow-based Ms Gasson for comment.

In its statement, Creative Scotland said: “We support freedom of expression and artists being able to push the boundaries of radical performance.

“However, the project, Rein, is considerably more explicit in its execution than was indicated in the application received to our Open Fund.

“As such, we are reviewing this award and will be discussing next steps with the applicant and with the other partners in the project.”

Sky News is still awaiting a response from Creative Scotland on whether it was aware of the “non-simulated” sex aspect of the project before or after the funding was awarded.

Neil Bibby MSP, Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for constitution, culture and sport, has called for the arts body to release the funding application in full and for the money to be “clawed back”.

In response, Mr Robertson said: “The specific queries that Neil Bibby has raised are very apposite. But what I would wish to do in the first instance is await the conclusions from Creative Scotland.

“On the basis of what is then concluded in the review, no doubt further questions will follow as to the consequences.”

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