AN acclaimed Scottish theatre company faces closure next year if Creative Scotland does not reverse its funding cut, it reveals in an open letter today.

Fire Exit, led by artistic director David Leddy, has issued an open letter to the funding body after it lost its regular funding in the controversial latest round of decisions by the cultural body.

A letter urging a reversal of the "devastating" decision has been signed by the Fire Exit Board of Trustees as well as poet and playwright Liz Lochhead, the chair of the Playwrights Studio in Scotland, Rona Munro, the writers Louise Welsh, Eimear McBride, Alan Bissett, Stephen Greenhorn, Jo Clifford, Gary McNair, Linda McLean and many others.

The open letter has also received backing from Roland Gulliver, associate director of the Edinburgh Book Festival, the director Cora Bissett and the directors of the Citizens Theatre and the Tron Theatre, Dominic Hill and Andy Arnold.

Actors Maureen Beattie, Siobhan Redmond and Blythe Duff are also among the many signatories.

The letter says that Fire Exit now faces closure in April 2019.

The letter said the company is "deeply concerned" about the decision making that led to the funding cut.

It says: "In this funding round no advice has been taken from external peer review panels.

"Creative Scotland do not undertake any external, or internal, evaluations of artistic quality.

"We have been told that the final funding decisions were made by a senior management team who were not given sight of our funding application or business plan...three years ago, when we last applied for funding, we raised all the same concerns about the process with Creative Scotland but were told not to worry as our funding bid at that time had been successful."

It adds: "Creative Scotland now intends for us to apply to a new project fund which has not yet been designed.

"However, we develop our projects, partners and tours many years in advance and project funding would make this impossible.

"This is a devastating decision for Fire Exit and the many artists we support, work with and nurture."

The company has made productions to acclaim: 81% of its press reviews are four or five stars, the letter adds.

It has worked with the Tron Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the British Museum at the Edinburgh International Book Festival among others, and "managerially we are in exemplary condition, in 17 years we’ve never gone one penny into deficit."

Janet Archer, the Chief Executive of Creative Scotland, said: “We fully recognise the importance of Fire Exit’s work and David Leddy’s contribution to Scottish Theatre as a leading theatre maker, director and playwright.

"His current show, The Last Bordello has been funded by Creative Scotland and we have also confirmed funding to the company until March 2019.

"Regular Funding is one of our routes to funding, sitting alongside Open Project and Targeted Funding which will soon include a new Touring Fund, co-designed with the sector.

"Fire Exit will have the opportunity to access funding through either one of these routes.

"We have committed to reviewing how we fund and make decisions as part of our work this year. We will engage with as many people as possible as part of this process."