Project information

Transform Perth Theatre

A once in a lifetime project that goes right to the heart of our community. A transformational architectural scheme breathing new life into Perth Theatre and giving us both the capacity and the inspirational environment we need to deliver our vision for the future.

August 2015 - December 2017

Charity information: Horsecross Arts Ltd

Horsecross Arts Ltd logo
  • Need


    Perth Theatre is one of Scotland’s most-loved and historic producing theatres with 60,000+ attendees every year and home to our award-winning Creative Learning programme. However, our theatre is 115 years old and in desperate need of restoration and upgrading. We have building repairs, access issues to address and we are eager to expand our Creative Learning activities to meet growing demand, especially those for young people and vulnerable adults. Quite literally, we are bursting at the seams!


    Our project will keep Perth Theatre at the social, artistic and economic heart of community life and ensure it is fully equipped with the fittings, furnishings and facilities our audiences and artists have come to expect and rightly deserve. We will have dedicated space for schools and community activities to allow for an extended, more accessible arts in the community programme. We will be able to diversify and grow our artistic programme and contribute significantly to Perth’s regeneration.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Secure a sustainable cultural and community organisation at the heart of city centre renewal


    » Assure a sustainable, fit for purpose company with new income streams and new partners, collaborators and investors
    » Restore and conserve our historic theatre and build a new 200 seat studio theatre so we can cater for small-mid scale music and drama performances
    » Create a new a youth and community hub and improved and more accessible facilities
    » Develop our role as a heritage and cultural tourism destination

    Greater economic impact for city centre and wider regional economy, increased box office and ancillary income, new partnerships, enhanced international profile

    Aim 2

    To be a creative hub for arts in Scotland, producing and presenting a distinctive artistic programme


    » Develop a bigger, more diverse artistic programme, increase audience numbers and attract a broader social spectrum with focus on young people/families
    » Grow our reputation as a producing and commissioning theatre and as a producer of unique music and drama festivals and events
    » Bring creative artists together nationally and internationally to collaborate, perform and develop their practice
    » Create a new small scale drama and music performance programme in our new auditorium for children, young people and families

    A more diversified programme and audience base, positive feedback from audiences and artists, a greater local, regional, national and international profile

    Aim 3

    To be an accessible and inspirational creative learning resource for the region


    » Encourage more young people to actively participate in the life of the theatre through a varied programme, improved facilities and improved resources
    » Train and nurture new and young talent and encourage a new wave of theatre artists and musicians
    » Provide high quality music and drama creative learning experiences to help children and young people flourish in life
    » Develop learning and teaching tools in music and drama to support the Curriculum for Excellence and the 'classroom without walls' initiative

    Planned increases achieved in community programme, positive feedback from participants, teachers, artists and community partners

    Aim 4

    Develop an on-going sustainable programme of work and support for young people and vulnerable adults


    » Develop our music and drama Creative Learning programme for young people and vulnerable adults
    » Build a new home for Perth Youth Theatre (PYT), our 120+ strong theatre company for young people
    » Provide additional, affordable performance, workshop and social space for local communities
    » Consult and work with community partners to ensure good practice is shared and community relations are strengthened for future working

    Planned increases achieved in outreach programme, community hires and PYT membership, positive feedback from participants and communities

  • Impact


    Economic: A first class, heritage and cultural tourism destination at the heart of the regeneration of the city centre, resulting in an additional £5.8 million for the regional economy
    Artistic: An internationally acclaimed artistic hub
    Educational: An accessible and inspirational Creative Learning hub for schools and communities
    Social: A ground breaking community programme involving young people and adults in theatre life, promoting health and wellbeing and bringing communities together


    Failure to reach our £16.6 million target could detrimentally affect the desired and expected impact of our transformational project. We have a strategy in place, a detailed prospect plan and we have already secured £15.1 million of confirmed support from three key partners, the Heritage Lottery Fund, a number of trust and foundations and generous individuals.


    Donors will receive a quarterly email report on performance targets. In terms of governance, a project board and project team are in place with key stakeholders meeting monthly to set direction, deliver project objectives and to monitor and report on project objectives.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £16,611,091

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £13,379,429 Construction New builds, refurbishment and repairs of existing buildings
      £1,581,200 Facilities Fittings, furnishings and theatre equipment
      £1,650,462 Client, statutory, survey fees Architect, engineers, surveyors, specialists' costs, planning and building warrant

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Perth & Kinross Council £8,976,000 Guaranteed
    The Gannochy Trust £3,020,000 Guaranteed
    Creative Scotland £2,000,000 Guaranteed
    Heritage Lottery Fund £500,000 Guaranteed
    Numerous Trusts and Foundations £465,000 Guaranteed
    Numerous Individuals £139,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Perth Theatre is on the main high street in Perth right at the heart of the city. Perth is the county town for Perthshire which has a population of over 145, 000. It is a rural county with 26 surrounding small towns and villages stretching from Scotland’s more densely populated Central Belt up to the isolated, sparsely populated Highlands. Perth Theatre’s catchment area, because of its central location and unique programme, is the whole of Scotland and beyond.


    People with interest in the arts especially drama and music. Young people and adults with physical and learning disabilities and mental illnesses. Older people including those living in residential care homes. People from North Perth which has high unemployment, low income and poor housing stock. Those living in Perthshire’s rural communities where arts provision is absent or lacking. All schoolchildren in Perth and Kinross aged 3 – 18. New, emerging, talented theatre practitioners and artists.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are an experienced, ambitious and high-performing company with a clear common purpose and direction coupled with an impressive track record in delivering inspiring projects, building partnerships and attracting substantial investment. We’ve achieved Investors in People, built a strong company culture and created a motivated team with the right skills to deliver our ambitious business plan. In the last 10 years we’ve won 30+ awards.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Gwilym Gibbons - Horsecross CEO

    Project champion for the £14m Mareel Cinema in Lerwick with strengths in business planning, change management, fundraising and arts

    Horsecross Arts Senior Management Team

    Numerous years’ combined experience in leadership, campaign and financial planning, change and risk management and fundraising for capital projects

    Magnus Linklater, Horsecross Arts Chairman

    CBE for services to the arts, former Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council, former editor of The Scotsman, President of the Saltire Society

    Horsecross Arts Board

    Numerous years’ combined experience in finance, legal, arts, leadership, fundraising and change management

"I feel like my life changed that first day I walked into Perth Theatre. It was the best thing that happened to me!"

Ewan McGregor - ambassador