Re­vised £16.5m plans to ‘trans­form’ Perth Theatre.

Coun­cil chief backs changes to Perth Theatre that will cre­ate new en­trance and re­store au­di­to­rium to its for­mer glory

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - paul reoch pre­och@the­

Al­ter­ations to rad­i­cal multi-mil­lion­pound plans to trans­form Perth Theatre have been rec­om­mended for ap­proval by a coun­cil chief.

Nick Brian, Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil’s de­vel­op­ment qual­ity man­ager, has com­piled a doc­u­ment that will go be­fore coun­cil­lors next week in which he out­lines the rea­sons for back­ing the £16.5 mil­lion restora­tion of the 115-yearold listed build­ing.

The theatre is cur­rently closed due to ren­o­va­tion work and its over­all makeover has al­ready re­ceived the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s bless­ing.

How­ever, Horsecross Arts – the body be­hind Perth Theatre and Perth Con­cert Hall – has now lodged al­ter­ations and ex­ten­sion pro­pos­als which would re­duce the floor area of the new-build and in­crease the ex­ist­ing sec­tion of the build­ing that is re­tained or re­mod­elled.

In ad­di­tion, the new sec­tion of the build­ing fac­ing Mill Street that cre­ates a new en­trance is set to be repo­si­tioned fur­ther back to al­low a larger public realm area at the front.

The al­tered plans will not af­fect work re­lat­ing to the ex­ist­ing listed theatre, which was pre­vi­ously ap­proved by the coun­cil.

Horsecross in­tends to re­store the main theatre au­di­to­rium to its for­mer glory and build a new 200-ca­pac­ity stu­dio theatre that is be­ing de­signed for more in­ti­mate theatre shows, live mu­sic and com­edy events.

The trans­for­ma­tion will also re­sult in more work­shop space for learn­ing and com­mu­nity projects.

Gwilym Gib­bons, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Horsecross Arts, has stated that he feels the re­vamped venue will “trans­form Perth Theatre into a 21st Cen­tury space of which Perth can be proud.”

Mr Brian’s re­port claims the de­vel­op­ment will have a pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact on the city. It states: “The ap­pli­ca­tion for al­ter­ations, ex­ten­sion and for­ma­tion of a new en­trance to Perth Theatre will pro­vide es­sen­tial new and up­graded fa­cil­i­ties while con­serv­ing the his­toric au­di­to­rium.

“This will al­low the theatre to keep pace with the public’s ex­pec­ta­tions and the needs of per­form­ers and pro­duc­ers.

“The ex­tended fa­cil­i­ties will en­able the theatre to reach out to wider au­di­ences and pro­vide a broader range of per­for­mance and events, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity-based work and ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Over­all, the plan­ning au­thor­ity ac­knowl­edges the ben­e­fits of the scheme, namely, im­proved fa­cil­i­ties, im­proved ac­cess ar­range­ments for the public, con­tin­ued use of listed build­ing for its orig­i­nal func­tion as well as en­hanced streetscape on Mill Street.”

Vi­sion: an artist’s im­pres­sions of how the ren­o­vated theatre could look.

Gwilym Gib­bons said the new-look theatre will be a “21st Cen­tury space”.

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