Official Re-Opening Night of Dumfries Theatre Royal

“I loved that little theatre in Dumfries, for which Robert Burns once wrote prologues. I had the good fortune to frequent it in what was one of its greatest years”, J.M Barrie (1930), The Greenwood Hat.

Last night we were invited to the official re-opening night of Dumfries Theatre Royal; a Celebration of the Past, Present and Future, to watch young and old tread the boards of the historically fascinating and innately charming Georgian building.  Creetown Initiative were invited as guests due to our role in securing a large proportion of the funds required to carry out the renovation works of the theatre and we marvelled at the spectacular performances of live music, poetry, readings, drama and speeches. 20160117_205854After a welcoming speech from the Master of the Guild of Players, Anne Aldridge (the owners of the theatre), the Strumsum Blues Band opened the evening of entertainment with toe tapping numbers, followed by a variety of poetry, drama, songs and comedy, including actor Jimmy Chisholm, Gaelic language poet Angus MacMillian, musical theatre performer Michael Porter, the talents of the Junior Guild and the Guild of Players, Scots Language Poet Rab Wilson, The Singing Kettle duo Cilla Fisher and Artie Tresize, Sean Barbour and speeches from Provost of Dumfries and Nithsdale Ted Thompson and Joan McAlpine MSP.

The Theatre Royal in Dumfries is Scotland’s oldest working playhouse and was built in 1792, with Robert Burns as one of the original subscribers. In its 220 years, the theatre has seen many developments from Georgian theatre, to Victorian theatre, into modern cinema and it has taken on a few other roles in more recent times, including an auction house and a skating rink. The upkeep of the theatre has always been a challenge and the present owners, the Guild of Players, decided that crucial refurbishment and major renovations were needed to bring the building up to standard for the 21st century. That’s where Creetown Initiative stepped in! At the end of 2012, we were employed by the Guild of Players to develop a funding strategy and business plan and to carry out all of the fundraising aspects. We also carried out work on audience development, governance, collections management and marketing. In total, Creetown Initiative secured £1.1million towards the redevelopment costs.

The theatre now boasts a new studio with fully sprung floor, a new cafe-bar, set construction space, Junior Guild rehearsal rooms and media suite, costume hire shop, refurbished dressing rooms and backstage space, new theatre seating and refurbishment of the auditorium, making the navigation between the foyer, bar, auditorium and backstage more logical and better configured. For more information about the theatre please visit their website, www.theatreroyaldumfries.co.uk or better still, pop in!

The diagrams and photographs below show the changing appearance of the Theatre Royal over its 220 years. The first is a drawing of the Theatre Royal as originally built in 1792, with the pillared portico front. The second dates back to Victorian times, the third is the theatre before the works began 2 years ago, the fourth is the architects drawing of the new theatre and the final photograph is the new theatre, newly and proudly reopened.

imagesCASHW2XVImg10829S356p8479Theatre Royal, Dumfries

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Creetown Initiative Lands Contract to Manage Projects in Kirkcudbright

Creetown Initiative has landed the contract to manage and develop a series of projects in Kirkcudbright. We will be working with a number of different community groups and charities in ‘The Artist’s Town’, with the intention of amalgamating the majority of the local groups into Kirkcudbright Development Trust.

 

Too Many Organisations

The people of Kirkcudbright have always been keen to get involved and volunteered regularly in good numbers. Over the years a number of groups were set-up to try and mitigate some of the issues that the community was facing, such as loss of employment opportunities, an ageing population, lack of investment and reduction of services. A lot of good work was done including a major capital project: the building of a community run swimming pool. However, over time, the number of organisations set-up started to have a negative impact in that it diluted resources (people and materials), caused duplication and it created inefficiency.

This was recognised and earlier this year a decision was taken to create an organisation that would coordinate activities, remove duplication and create a body that had the capacity to deliver major projects and which was well managed and efficient. Some of the existing groups will amalgamate into the new group, creating a strong, resilient, well-resourced organisation capable of delivering real change to the people of Kirkcudbright. Creetown Initiative has been tasked with managing the development of this new trust and to develop a number of exciting community projects in the pipeline.

 

Inaugural Meeting

With this in mind, there is an Inaugural Meeting on Monday 23rd November, Cochran Hall, 7:30pm for people to find out about how the Kirkcudbright Development Trust can help local groups and organisations and how it will lead in major initiatives.

Creative Industries Event

12115777_10153587058457777_2406892383659419987_nOn Friday 9th October, we went along to the Creative Industries Event in Dalbeattie and ran a stall to talk about the local and national work Creetown Initiative carries out. The event was run by Business Gateway and Dumfries and Galloway Council and we met some interesting people from various creative fields. We used this opportunity to promote the arts and crafts co-operative opportunity to local artists and craft makers. The arts and crafts gallery will be housed within the new Creetown Enterprise Centre, along with many other exciting elements, and will be open by September 2016.

TGB Gatehouse

TGB Gatehouse is a church based organisation in Gatehouse of Fleet, which provides activity groups, including the arts, for primary aged children. The group now proposes to extend the scope of their activities and promote social justice through volunteering and intergenerational contacts and have engaged the services of Creetown Initiative.

We are delighted to be working with this inspirational group in their quest to appoint volunteers, empower individuals and provide support and learning opportunities for all sections of the community, including those who are disadvantaged. Specifically, Creetown Initiative will be working with the Volunteer Co-ordinator to develop a funding strategy and business plan.

Funding Success for new Creetown Enterprise Centre

It is with great pleasure that we can announce we have been successful in securing £730,000 from the Lottery to develop the Creetown Community Enterprise Centre!

This project has been four years in the making and after much hard work, it is coming to fruition. The ground floor of the centre will house an arts and crafts cooperative shop. In a nutshell, a group of artists and craft-makers will share the ground floor, taking it in turns to man the shop, whilst sharing the overheads. It is hoped that up to 20 artists and craft-makers will join the cooperative. If you are an artist or craft-maker and are interested in joining, please get in touch with Creetown Initiative.

The two upper floors will be a bunk-house. Cheap accommodation, aimed at mountain bikers, walkers and people doing other country pursuits. The idea is to tap into the market of people looking for no frills, cheap accommodation; people who are, at present, passing us by. The idea is that these people will use other village facilities, helping to support other local businesses and protect jobs. Indeed, some will come back and chose a more up market accommodation in the future; something we will actively promote. It’s about getting them here in the first place. 7 Stanes attracts 400,000 people a year; if we attract just 2% of those visitors that would mean 8,000 people who would potentially use the butchers, village store, garage, B&Bs, hotels, museums and other facilities. To the side of the premises the Cycle4life and Reuse Matters projects will be housed. This means that on site we will be able to offer bike hire and repairs, whilst the Reuse Matters project will, in time, generate income for community groups and projects; in essence this will be a charity shop/recycling initiative, and there will be a work/office space to let for anyone looking for small business premises.

There will also be a laundrette, primarily to serve the bunk-house, but this will be open to the public. Industrial washing machines means things like dog beds, duvets and other large items can be cleaned here in Creetown. The electric car will be stationed at the Barholm and there will be two charge points. People will be able to hire the electric car if they wish; another reason for people to stop in Creetown. This project will attract new visitors and will create jobs and help protect existing ones. It will revive a semi-derelict building which will help those that live and work close by. The Heritage Centre will also benefit via the additional footfall in the area, and will provide educational and learning opportunities. The next step is the tender process to choose a building company. This will take a few months, but hopefully this time next year the centre will be open.

Visit to Kingussie planned for our latest consultancy contract

The Am Fasgadh Regeneration Company (Kingussie) Ltd or ARC are looking to continue the potential development of The Cairngorm Centre in Kingussie. ARC wishes to build on the work of aAm-Fasgadh, Kingussie feasibility study and have appointed Creetown Initiative to undertake a rigorous assessment of the potential markets for the centre, its place within these markets and from that develop a robust business plan, particularly looking at financial viability and sustainability.

Creetown Initiative will be carrying out:-

  • Market research into all target markets for the centre
    Assessing the demand for a high quality tourism facility within the Cairngorms National Park
  • Develop a portfolio of possible funders and their requirements for the project
  • Analysis of likely income from the centre
  • Marketing strategy to support the development
  • Produce a business plan using the feasibility study and market research that can be used by the ARC board of directors to support the transfer of the site from The Highland Council

Clan Hannay Society choose Creetown Initiative!

Sorbie Tower

Clan Hannay Society have chosen Creetown Initiative to carry out an options appraisal of Sorbie Tower.

Sorbie Tower, the ancient seat of Clan Hannay, is an L shaped 15th century tower house which was restored to the Clan’s ownership in 1965.  Since that time the Clan has maintained the tower house as a preserved ruin.

Realising that historic preserved ruins are expensive to maintain and give few options for bringing in an income, the Clan are now exploring possible uses for the Tower and surrounds, with the ultimate aim of fully restoring the building.  A conservation management plan and scoping study have already been carried out, the next stage being the options appraisal.

Manager of Creetown Initiative, Andrew Ward is “delighted to get involved with a significant local heritage project which also ties in with other work being done with local groups such as The Whithorn Trust”

Stranraer

Creetown Initiative Wins Stranraer BID (Business Improvement District) Contract

Creetown Initiative wins contract to co-ordinate the development of the Stranraer BID.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Stranraer BID Steering Group to work with them to deliver the BID (Business Improvement District). We see the BID as an exciting opportunity for Stranraer,  one which will complement the improvements and developments being worked on by the statutory agencies and bring the business community and public sector together for the good of the town. If successful the Stranraer BID will be the first in Dumfries & Galloway, leading the way for other towns in the region to follow suit.”

Andrew Ward, Manager, Creetown Initiative.

For more information see Stranraer BID.