Historic theatres to share £3.5m transformation fund

Creative Scotland has awarded more than £3.5 million of Large Capital Funding to help three organisations realise ambitious plans to transform cultural facilities.

The Gaiety Theatre, Ayr; Dunoon’s Burgh Hall and Perth’s Horsecross Arts have all received confirmation of Stage Two Large Capital Awards that will enable the projects to progress the delivery of their final plans.

Gaiety Theatre, Ayr - Award £1,176,277

Originally built in 1902, the Gaiety is undergoing extensive redevelopment which will put on a sustainable footing and consolidate its role as a hub for the performing arts across South West Scotland. The theatre wishes to position itself as a cultural and educational hub for Ayrshire and as main programmer for high profile local venues. As a delivery partner with The University of the West of Scotland (UWS), the theatre will deliver a degree level stage technical course, produce a greater level of quality programming and educational resource, whilst continuing to deliver their established family programme alongside a diversity of performing arts.

Jeremy Wyatt, executive director, Gaiety Theatre said: “This capital grant from Creative Scotland is essential to the future of the Gaiety Theatre. It will enable us to address urgent heating and ventilation problems, restore the main auditorium and invest in modern stage equipment. It will also allow us to improve the whole audience and performer experience. Most importantly it will mean we can continue to act as a focus for developing all aspects of the performing arts in Ayrshire.”

Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust, Dunoon Burgh Halls, Argyll - Award £465,000

Once the only theatre in Argyll, the Burgh Hall holds a Grade B listed status and is considered the town’s most important civic building. The redevelopment will recognise and maintain the historic nature of the building, which was originally designed in the Scots Baronial style by the Glasgow architect Robert Bryden. The redevelopment will create a multi-use arts hub, with the main hall capable of supporting a mixed performance programme, events and functions, and larger exhibitions. It will also house a café and a range of meeting spaces, supporting the development of cultural tourism and the local economy.

John McAslan chairman, Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust said: “On behalf of the Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust, I’d like to say how delighted we are that Creative Scotland is supporting us in this way with such a generous capital works grant. This is a clear demonstration of the support we have from Creative Scotland and it puts us on schedule to begin works in early 2015 with completion the following year.”

Horsecross, Horsecross Arts and Perth and Kinross Council, Perth - Award £2,000,000

Perth Theatre is situated in the middle of the city’s bustling High Street and at over 100 years old, is one of Scotland’s oldest theatres. The redevelopment of the theatre will restore the historic auditorium to its original splendour, transforming a much loved building into one of Scotland’s most exhilarating theatre spaces. The redevelopment will help bring in new audiences to enjoy inspiring programmes, and create improved spaces in which to nurture talent, complementing the international standard of its sister Concert Hall. The theatre is currently closed for redevelopment and expected to reopen in early 2017.

Colin McMahon, chief executive, Horsecross Arts said: “Horsecross Arts is pleased that Creative Scotland has confirmed its pledge of £2m from its large capital fund towards the re-development and restoration of Perth Theatre. This will form part of the £13.5 million pledged by our project partners Perth & Kinross Council, The Gannochy Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), trusts and foundations, generous individuals and other supporters and funding bodies.

“We continue to work towards raising an additional £1.5 million to ensure that the newly transformed venue is fully equipped and furnished for a new century of theatre in Perth. Trusts and foundations, local businesses, communities and many of the theatre’s patrons have been showing their support. Theatre lovers and audiences have also been playing their part through donation schemes and seat sponsorship.”

Janet Archer, Creative Scotland, CEO added: “The cultural infrastructure of Scotland will be boosted by these important and ambitious projects which have been a number of years in the planning.

“These new developments will transform these three venues to create improved spaces and enable artists and creative people to inspire audiences across Scotland through an exciting mix of creative experiences, stimulating social, cultural and economic regeneration in each location.”

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