Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Arts body reviewing £84,000 public funding for ‘explicit’ sex project

Creative Scotland has announced it is reviewing a decision to provide 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 the art body’s National Lottery Open Fund.

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

As well as inviting the audience to “come see the daddies lurking in the woods”, the show’s “climax” is advertised as a “secret cave sex party” that will be “exploding onto the screens”.

In a callout for participants over the age of 18, budding performers have been offered £270 per day and advised: “Some roles will involve just snogging, others will involve vanilla sex and others more hardcore acts.”

Those with previous sex work experience – “particularly in porn contexts” – have been encouraged to apply.

‘This is a pro-sex project’

In Ms Gasson’s description of the project, scheduled to premiere in the autumn of 2025, the Glasgow-based director said: “As part of the application we will ask for a general sense of what you would be happy to do, and what is a no for you.

“If you are selected to be in the cast, our intimacy coordinators will support you to more clearly identify your detailed needs and boundaries with the sexual aspect of the work.

“This is a pro-sex and pro-sex work/er project so even if your character does not engage in sex, you will be around those that do and will need to be comfortable in that environment.”

The project’s description continues: “Guided by a queer team, and driven by a neurodivergent dramaturgy, we are exploring new approaches to intimacy coordination and non-simulated sex in the devising process.

“Through a consent and access led approach we will co-create the work with the cast, drawing on the different skills and experiences of each cast member to realise this fantastical erotic world.”

Sky News has contacted Ms Gasson for comment.

The Creative Scotland office in Edinburgh
Image: The Creative Scotland office in Edinburgh

‘Execution of project more explicit than application’

The public funding allocation has been criticised, particularly at a time when the arts sector continues to struggle to recover from the COVID pandemic.

After Rein hit the headlines in the Sunday Post at the weekend, Creative Scotland said the project’s application did not indicate how explicit the art installation would be.

The funding is now being reviewed.

A Creative Scotland spokesperson 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 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.

‘Every penny of this money should be clawed back’

Politicians and campaigners have raised concerns about the project receiving public money.

Campaign group For Women Scotland said: “Prostitution and pornography are rightly considered violence against women and contribute to the dehumanisation of women and regressive and harmful attitudes. At a time when genuine arts projects struggle to find funding, it is disgusting that tax-payer money is being spent on a project so extreme that they offer counselling to participants and one which openly celebrates the exploitation and abuse of women.”

Meghan Gallacher, deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, said: “Given the concerns raised here, Scottish government ministers must make clear that robust processes were followed before handing over taxpayers’ money for the show.”

Neil Bibby MSP, Scottish Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for constitution, culture and sport, added: “This specific case needs to be investigated as a matter of urgency but there should also be a review of the criteria applied to all funding applications.

“Every penny of this money should be clawed back and used to support the excellent cultural organisations who the Scottish government are failing to properly support right now.”

Read more from Sky News:
The full list of Oscar winners

What everyone’s talking about after the ceremony

The Scottish government said funding decisions are made independently by the arts body.

Kaukab Stewart, Scottish minister for culture, Europe and international development, was contacted for additional comment.

Sky News Source