The restoration and redevelopment of Perth Theatre will get fully underway on Monday 21 March as the construction phase begins.

Project contractors Robertson Construction Tayside will be on site to carry out enabling works which will include stripping out existing buildings and preparing to demolish sections to make way for the new extension.

Magnus Linklater, chair of Horsecross Arts, the creative organisation behind Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre said:

"It has been a long wait to see construction work starting on our new theatre, but believe me an awful lot has been happening in the background to prepare for this moment. Now, as the building begins to take shape, we will see great strides being taken towards the completion of an exciting project -- a new theatre, with its historic auditorium lovingly restored, newly designed facilities for a 21st century audience and community participants, a place where we will see great drama being performed for and by all ages. We are on schedule to reopen in late 2017, on budget; and our team is working hard to secure the remaining funds to make it one of Scotland's great theatres. We hope the people of Perth will join with us in ensuring that this is a place we can all be proud of."

Council Leader and Project Board Chair Councillor Ian Miller said:

“The refurbishment of Perth Theatre is a key element of our plans to create a vibrant cultural sector in the City of Perth. I am hugely excited about the prospect of having a state of the art theatre complementing our existing facilities in the city, with Perth Concert Hall providing a fantastic multi-purpose venue for concerts, conferences, shows and many other diverse events drawing performers and organisations from around Scotland, the UK and across the globe.”

Kevin Dickson, regional managing director of Robertson Tayside, said:

“Work getting underway on site marks an important milestone in the redevelopment of Perth Theatre.

“This is a major project for the city of Perth, providing a significant boost to the local economy.

“We are delighted to be transforming this historic building, restoring it to its former glory while offering modern, dynamic facilities for performers and theatre-goers to enjoy.”

Gary Bushnell, chief executive of project development company hub East Central Scotland said:

“It is great to see work getting underway on site and we look forward to handing over a high quality state of the art building in 2017 that will continue to play such an important role in Perth's cultural programmes.”

Perth Theatre has a long history of artistic innovation and excellence having been at the heart of cultural life in Perth for over a century. The transformation of the theatre will restore and redevelop one of Scotland’s oldest and best loved theatres for generations to come. The B listed Edwardian auditorium will be restored to its former glory and a new 200 seat studio theatre will be created. The newly transformed venue will have increased workshop spaces for creative learning and community projects including the thriving Perth Youth Theatre which turns 50 this year. Due to be completed late 2017, the High Street entrance to the building will be retained, with a new frontage created on Mill Street, improving access and facilities for visitors.

Horsecross Arts has been pledged £15.1m for Transform Perth Theatre, with funding coming from project partners Perth & Kinross Council, Creative Scotland, The Gannochy Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, other trusts and foundations, individual donations and other supporters and funding bodies.

Horsecross Arts is now looking to raise an additional £1.5 million from local businesses, generous visitors, audiences, communities and supporters to ensure that the newly transformed venue is fully equipped and furnished for a new century of theatre in Perth.

There are several ways to donate to the Transform Perth Theatre project ranging from buying a Perth Theatre supporter’s pin badge to seat dedication, as well as bespoke business sponsorship opportunities including naming rights for the new studio theatre, community spaces, bar and restaurant areas and auditorium boxes.

Theatre lovers can also show their support by sharing their memories of Perth Theatre through the #PlayingMyPart campaign centred on a large-scale display in sister venue Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold artspace.

Those who would like to take a more active role can find lots of suggestions for fundraising activities as well as all the donation options on the Transform Perth Theatre pages of the Horsecross Arts website.

Horsecross Arts will be holding a free drop-in session for members of the public to find out more about the Transform Perth Theatre project and the fundraising campaign in Perth Concert Hall’s Norie-Miller Studio on Monday 18 April at 2.15pm.