Paisley in line for £170,000 arts windfall
A £170,000 windfall to push Paisley’s City of Culture bid will see funding for a musical about the town’s historic Bungalow Bar, an opera inspired by the town’s witch trials and a festival in Ferguslie Park.
Council chiefs created a Culture, Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF) to get more people involved in events in the run-up to the 2021 bid being lodged.
The initial £500,000 investment was doubled to £1m earlier this year – with 65 projects having already been funded through the £462,000 committed to date.
And members of the council’s leadership board will next week be asked to approve the list of 15 projects recommended to be funded in the latest round. Highlights include: £ 10,000 to local music charity Loud n Proud for a musical allowing various local youth groups telling the incredible story of the original Bungalow Bar;
£10,000 to Paisley Opera to create a special performance in Paisley Abbey inspired by the town’s famous witch
trials – the last mass hanging for witchcraft in Western Europe;
£ 20,000 to the New Tannahill Centre for a multi-artform festival in Ferguslie Park featuring local groups such as Paisley YMCA, the Sunshine Recovery Cafe and Quarriers; and
£ 22,333 to partfund a groundbreaking collaboration with respected playwright Nicola McCartney to showcase the creativity of Renfrewshire young people who grew up in care.
The recommendations were made by a specially-convened panel from the Paisley 2021 bid team.
Paisley was confirmed earlier this year as the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture competition – with the winner due to be announced by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the year.
Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to harness the power of creativity and of our unique heritage story to transform the future of the whole area, and the fund is one of the key building blocks within that.
“Once again, the applications show the strength and diversity of the local creative scene, and it was a tough job for the panel to whittle that down to the 15 projects they have asked councillors to approve.
“One of the reasons the council created the fund is we know involvement in cultural activity is good for people’s lives, and we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy those benefits.
“So it is good to see suggested projects based around some of our hardto-reach and marginalised groups, as well as others offering free access to music, dance and film production to young people.
“At the same time, the fund is strengthening the case for Paisley become the next UK City of Culture – by bringing expertise from across Scotland here to work with and develop our homegrown talent, and proving we have what it takes to stage top-class programming.”