East Ayrshire release The Cumnock Tryst

National Lottery funds support Ayrshire creative projects

Two exciting creative projects from Ayrshire-based organisations will be delivered thanks to funding awarded through Creative Scotland’s Open Fund 

Funding for The Cumnock Tryst and The Dark Horse poetry magazine are among the 53 projects in total sharing in over £1.2 million of National Lottery funding.

These funds aim to support creativity across Scotland for artists, organisations and creative groups as they seek to build sustainability while emerging from Covid-19 restrictions.

The Cumnock Tryst is a four-day international festival bringing inspiring, world-class musicians to Cumnock. Funds will support a year-round concert programme and a community engagement programme, a major community opera which will be written and performed by community groups from across East Ayrshire and the development of a centre for excellence in the learning and teaching of composition.

The Cumnock Tryst’s Artistic Director Sir James MacMillan says: “We aspire to deliver a regenerative impact to local communities which will have knock-on effects in employment, education and life-long learning as well as implications for health, wellbeing and the spiritual dimension.”

“Music has a unique, special power to reach deep into the soul, both of the individual and of the community.”

Funding has also been awarded to The Dark Horse poetry magazine for the publication of issues 44 and 45 of the magazine. The Dark Horse is one of Scotland’s leading journals of poetry and poetry criticism, currently in its 26th year.

Founder and editor Gerry Cambridge says: “Our next issue is a special, largely focusing on the great Scottish writer George Mackay Brown in his centenary year, featuring much new writing on him by critics, admirers and other poets.”

“Scotland and its people have always highly valued the art of poetry, and I’m delighted that continued support for The Dark Horse shows that this remains the case.”

Joan Parr, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts and Engagement, said: “Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, who raise £30 million for good causes across the UK every week, these vital funds are helping artists to continue to develop and present their work and to bring extraordinary creative experiences to life within our communities.”  

A full list of recipients of Open Fund awards is available on the Creative Scotland website.  

Contact Information

Olivia Carr

Media Relations & PR Coordinator

Creative Scotland

0141 302 1708

07970 962 322


Notes to editors


  • In June 2021, Creative Scotland’s Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development made 53 funding awards, totalling £1,246,122. 
  • The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development has no deadlines, and full eligibility criteria and application guidance can be found on the Creative Scotland website.  
  • In response to feedback from applicants, Creative Scotland’s Open Fund for Individuals will move to a simplified online application process from Tuesday 10 August 2021. Please note, this means that the Open Fund will be closing to applications from Individuals for one week, from Tuesday 3 August 2021. For full information visit our website.   
  • Individual artists and creators based in Scotland, are invited to book a place on one of our Sector Sessions to find out more about the redeveloped application process for this fund.  
  • More information about Covid-19 funding and resources can be accessed via FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot, and through Creative Scotland’s Resource Directory for Covid-19
  • Regular updates on all emergency funding in response to Covid-19 are provided on Creative Scotland’s website.  

The National Lottery has raised more than £41 billion for more than 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994. Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support people, projects and communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.  https://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ 

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.   

Image credit: The Cumnock Tryst.