Opening of Nairn Little Theatre - 'Bit of a Pantomime'
The Nairn Drama Club can now yell ‘it’s all behind you’ when the doors are flung open for its first production in its newly renovated facility. Ironically the building’s first show is the pantomime Mother Goose. This will be followed by the Grand Opening Revue in the new year.
The new theatre has been built on the footprint of the existing site and includes expanded seat and wing space, additional height in the auditorium, new retractable seating, improved technical facilities, improved changing facilities, workshop space and disabled access throughout.
Prior to the upgrades Nairn Little Theatre was in desperate need of repair. The theatre needed rewiring throughout, the roof leaked when it rained, one wall was bulging and becoming dangerous, the seating didn’t meet modern standards, and the lack of rehearsal space meant that the chorus had to rehearse in the street.
In 1999 the Nairn Drama Club drew up a wish list of possible improvements and applied to the Scottish Arts Council for a lottery grant. After much discussion the Scottish Arts Council agreed to fund 75% of the costs or £324,375. The remaining funds were met by the Highland Council, Lloyds TSB, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise and a number of Trusts and Foundations.
The club expects that the new facility will enable it to increase its own membership, encourage local art groups to expand their programmes and invite professional touring companies to perform. It believes that the whole community will benefit from the diverse programme on offer.
'Frances Hendry, the Project Champion for the Nairn Drama Club, commented, ‘The committee sweated blood over this. We were told by the builders we'd be able to move back in four and a half months ago. The project has driven the poor long-suffering neighbours as well as ourselves crazy, but at last we're in! It's only a month until our pantomime, so this is where our own work really starts. We have to put up mirrors and shelving, set up the coffee bar, hang the curtains, organise the lighting and sound, make and paint the necessary flats and rostra and backdrops - all as well as rehearsing the show, now that we can finally get onto the stage. It will be magic to see the curtains open on the first performance - and give us all a rest!
Andrew Leitch, Capital Monitoring Officer for the Scottish Arts Council, ‘The committee of the Nairn Little Theatre have to be commended for all their hard work. Normally a lottery-funded project takes seven years to complete and they have done it in five. The theatre company has a proven track record of success and the new facility will enable them to take the club to even greater heights.’
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Arts Council champions and sustains the arts for Scotland, investing £60 million from Scottish Executive and National Lottery funding to support and develop artistic excellence and creativity throughout Scotland. Further information is available on our website: www.scottisharts.org.uk.
- The Nairn Drama Club, a voluntary organisation was originally established in 1947. Initially they held productions in the Salvation Army Hall on a tiny stage which saw the lighting box double as a kitchen. The audience sat on wooden benches and the actors had to change at the local school and run up to the theatre in costume.
- In 1983 the Little Theatre was remodelled to include three toilets, a coffee bar and a dressing room. They also installed new seating as well as a modern lighting control system.
- Current membership of the Nairn Drama Club is 65 members 41 of whom are juniors (with 30 potential juniors currently on the waiting list)
- The project received £324,375 from the Scottish Arts Council Lottery fund. The funding was used to expand the stage and wing space, give additional height in the auditorium, new retractable seating, improved technical facilities, improved changing facilities, public toilets, foyer space, extension to upper level to provide flexible meeting / rehearsal space, workshop and storage.
Issued by: Scottish Arts Council