With construction work on the restoration and redevelopment of Perth Theatre starting this week, the journey to a new century of theatre in Perth is gathering further pace with the appointment of Lu Kemp as artistic director.

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

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Lu Kemp as artistic director for Perth Theatre. She comes to us with a brilliant track record in the theatre, both in Scotland and south of the border, and is keen to involve the broadest range of audiences, from young to old, in the work she will be planning for the theatre when it reopens in 2017. We have a very clear vision about the part that the transformed theatre will play. It will be a national inclusive hub, with an extensive programme of work including co-production, partnerships, training and community engagement. Lu’s experience across a range of artistic styles, track record in collaborative working, passion for new theatre, commitment to involving community participants and developing young talent fit perfectly with our ambitions for the theatre and we are delighted to have her on board.”

Chief executive of Horsecross Arts, Gwilym Gibbons said:

“Lu will be a valuable addition to the Horsecross team at a key moment in the development of the theatre. Her inspiring leadership and communication qualities in addition to her excellent artistic experience and talents will be a great asset not just to Horsecross Arts but to the communities we serve, I very much look forward to introducing her to our team, audiences and community participants. We are sure that she can expect a warm welcome from the people of Perth!”

An award-winning theatre director and creative leader, Lu Kemp has worked with a wide variety of companies including the National Theatre of Scotland, The Citizen’s Theatre, The RSC and Tricycle Theatre, touring productions across the UK and internationally. Most recently she directed Rapunzel at Citizen’s Theatre Glasgow and also directed critically acclaimed productions Bondagers, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Don Quixote Òran Mór and the CATS nominated production The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish for the National Theatre of Scotland. Awards

include: CATS Award for Best Design (2015), The Scottish Arts and Edinburgh Guide Prize for Best Scottish Contribution to Drama on the Fringe (Winner 2011 and Runner-up 2013) and The Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award 2009.

Lu, who will work closely with Horsecross Arts from May this year, launching her first theatre season when Perth Theatre reopens said:

“Together with the inspiring team at Horsecross, I am thrilled to be able to relaunch Perth Theatre after its restoration and redevelopment. The transformed theatre’s doors will be wide open to the local community and to artists across Scotland. It will be a place of dialogue and debate, a place where all sectors of the local community can meet, participate in, and be entertained by brilliant, accessible and inspiring theatre. It will be a venue which welcomes theatre makers at all stages of their career and where, in conversation with our local audiences, artists have the support to develop their art-forms in exciting and unexpected ways. The theatre has a special place on Scotland’s cultural stage and in the hearts of the people of Perth and we look forward to building on its long and successful history.”

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 at www.transformperththeatre.co.uk.

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.