One of Scotland’s oldest hotels, The Salutation Hotel in Perth has provided the inspiration for new drama The Fundraiser by Lesley Hart. Part of Perth Theatre’s Out and About programme while the 114-year old theatre is restored and redeveloped, this highly interactive black comedy with a sting in the tale will run in The Salutation Hotel from Wednesday 5 until Saturday 8 November.
The Fundraiser takes the form of a fundraising event in a hotel in Perth. The audience become bidders in a charity auction in support of Clementina (‘call me Tina’) Baxter’s imminent attempt to swim the channel. All goes swimmingly until the surprise appearance of Tina’s mother, Perth’s favourite showbiz celebrity Helen Baxter (entertainer and national treasure) threatens to put a dampener on Tina’s big night.
Directed by Robert Jack and designed by Kenny Miller, The Fundraiser stars Perth actor Sally Reid, last seen in Perth in Blithe Spirit and River City favourites Claire Knight and Libby McArthur. Describing how events led up to the selection of this unusual venue for the fictional charity auction/raffle/showdown of the year Lesley said:
“I began developing the story for the play without having a clear idea of where it could be staged. Then a chain of events led me to set it, site-specifically, in Perth's Salutation Hotel: I told the story to Perth's own Sally Reid and she was captivated by it right away, plus it occurred to me she would be brilliant casting for the central character. Then I met Libby McArthur, quite unrelatedly, and she told me that she had always wanted to play Sally's mother - and beyond their clear resemblance, this seemed to me an inspired idea for my play. The idea to stage the play with those two actors took root in my mind, and then when I heard that Perth Theatre was staging new work in non-theatre venues, the idea to frame the story as a Fundraising event in a hotel, in Perth, came to me. Also, I developed a vital third character with the actress Claire Knight in mind.
“Hopefully the audience will enjoy the experience of a show tailor made for its setting - and for them. They really will feel part of the story - that is our ambition anyway.
“I am thrilled to be making a piece of new theatre in a space that has perhaps never staged the like before, and to create an audience experience which will certainly be new and exciting for me - hopefully for the audience too!”
Lorraine Geddes, events manager at The Salutation Hotel said:
“We are very excited to be hosting our very first theatre production here at The Salutation Hotel. We have of course held many actual charity fundraising auctions over the years so our Moncrieffe Suite seems a very fitting venue for the subject matter of the production. Another link is that Perth locals often refer to us affectionately as the ‘Sally’ and our lounge bar is called Reid’s so Perth actor Sally Reid should feel right at home here! We can’t wait to see the production come to life and hope that the audience will enjoy our venue and the facilities we have to offer.”
The Fundraiser runs in The Salutation Hotel from Wednesday 5 until Saturday 8 November. Tickets and info from Horsecross Arts Box Office on 01738 621031 click here.