Perth Theatre marked its official reopening with the first performance of homecoming panto Aladdin on Saturday 9 December.
The theatre audience joined in as panto dame Barrie Hunter and the Provost of Perth and Kinross, Dennis Melloy declared Perth Theatre open from the stage. Following the cutting of a gold ribbon with a giant pair of comedy scissors, the panto dame and Provost showed off some nifty footwork in a Strictly style dance off!
Even a fire alarm during the second half of the performance didn’t dampen the mood, as the audience cheered a couple of firefighters delivering the panto cast back to the stage for the show to go on to an ecstatic reception.
Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of Horsecross Arts, the creative organisation behind Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall said:
“This is an incredibly exciting moment! The Perth Theatre transformation has secured the future of one of Scotland’s most historic and culturally significant landmarks for many generations to enjoy. We are immensely proud of the achievement. I would like to thank everyone involved in the process – our partners at Perth & Kinross Council, funders the Gannochy Trust, Creative Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other trusts, foundations and individuals, as well as our architects, suppliers and contractors and all who have worked on this amazing building. I would like to thank our staff for their hard work and commitment over the many years of the project and I know that I speak for all of us when I say how much we are all looking forward to giving the theatre back to its real owners – the people of Perth!”
Lu Kemp, artistic director for Perth Theatre said:
“Perth Theatre used to be called the People’s Theatre Perth - we’ve redeveloped and restored it, we need local people to re-inhabit it and to bring it back to life! We look forward to welcoming everybody and hope they will help return this extraordinary building to its former glory – a busy, warm place used and enjoyed by everyone.”
Councillor Ian Campbell of Perth & Kinross Council said:
“The transformation of Perth Theatre has been a joint endeavour and a partnership between Perth & Kinross Council and Horsecross Arts. The Council owns the Theatre and is its long-term custodian as one of our most precious heritage assets in our beautiful city. Horsecross Arts is one of Scotland’s most exciting arts organisations and we are proud to have them deliver their artistic vision from the Theatre, the Concert Hall and across Perth and Kinross. This project has been almost a decade in the realisation and, like all joint endeavours, has involved many people. All these people have very different skills and expertise, but they share a common passion for this project and an absolute determination to see it successfully realised. They can be rightly proud of themselves.”
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 has restored and redeveloped one of Scotland’s oldest and best loved theatres for generations to come. The B listed Edwardian auditorium has been restored to its former glory and a new 200 seat studio theatre – the Joan Knight Studio - has been created. The newly transformed venue has increased workshop spaces for creative learning and community projects, including the thriving Perth Youth Theatre, as well as improved access and facilities for audiences and visitors.
Funding for the £16.6m project has been pledged 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.