Theatre will stage the big move with £2m culture cash

CULTURAL projects will be big winners under the £205m capital projects package announced last month by finance secretary John Swinney.
Up to £2m of Government funding will be provided to National Theatre of Scotland towards its plans to bring staff and facilities under one roof by 2014.
The deal was announced as culture secretary Fiona Hyslop confirmed the details of almost £7m for cultural projects this year and for the next two years.
As well as the National Theatre funding she has allocated £2m for maintenance and refurbishment of the National Museums Scotland’s estate, a £1.5m top-up for Creative Scotland’s oversubscribed capital programme, and £1.4m for work on Historic Scotland properties.
The National Theatre is looking at the feasibility of a ‘creation space’ in Glasgow where it can consolidate rehearsal facilities, offices and technical and storage amenities in a converted former warehouse, in the Speirs Lock area. The building has been empty for 10 years.
Although the building will not be a performance space, it is planned to encourage a hub where artists, actors, writers and young people can work together.
Richard Findlay, the theatre’s chairman, said: “From original small headquarters in Glasgow’s Easterhouse and the city centre, to our current collection of offices, rehearsal spaces and stores, the consolidation of these functions, under one roof, offers us a wonderful opportunity without compromising our ‘theatre without walls’ philosophy.”
The organisation currently has separate rented accommodation for rehearsal space, technical facilities, administrative staff and storage in a variety of buildings across Glasgow. Each of those properties has a lease that will expire within the next two years.
The proposed facility will be in the Speirs Locks regeneration area on the edge of Glasgow’s Possilpark. The property is presently owned by Scottish Canals and the refurbishment will be undertaken with support from the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership.
It is believed that the cost of converting and fitting out the warehouse will be around £5.5m including professional fees.
The theatre will now take forward plans for the conversion and examine look at ways of raising the remaining finance required.
Speirs Locks is developing into an important cultural hub. A master plan covers a 14-hectare site north of the city centre adjacent to the Forth and Clyde Canal.
The proposals provide a framework to allow the area to develop and evolve as a centre for creative industries over the next 15 years. This framework is based on developing vacant sites alongside the canal for housing, hotels, offices, studios and leisure.