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First images revealed of Paisley Arts Centre after £2.8m transformation

Chamber News, Member News 24th October 2019

The first images showing how Paisley’s iconic arts centre will look after a £2.8m transformation have been revealed – including a new extension and public space at the heart of Paisley’s nightlife district.

The Paisley Arts Centre stage has hosted some of Scotland’s biggest names in the three decades since the 250-year-old former church building was converted into one of the country’s most vibrant small entertainment venues.

The building is being upgraded as part of a wider investment in Paisley’s venues and outdoor spaces aimed at using the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change its future.

And plans have been submitted for the work, with images revealed today showing:

– a redesigned public space around the arts centre, removing railings and bringing the street to the building – creating a new outdoor area for events and for people to dwell;

– how the building’s location at the junction of New Street and Shuttle Street means it is perfectly placed to add new vibrancy to the surrounding already-busy nightlife area;

– a new-build extension to the existing entrance – creating more room to expand facilities inside – including an improved café-bar;

– improved auditorium with retractable seating offering a capacity of 150 (seated) and 200 (standing) and creating the flexibility to offer more events, bringing more footfall to the town;

– better audience and performance facilities – retaining the intimate atmosphere the building is known for but adding more comfortable seating with better legroom, improved sightlines, better sound and lighting, upgraded toilets, and better disabled access and facilities;

There will also be new back-of-house facilities expanding what the building can do and making it more attractive to performers – including a new kitchen, improved dressing rooms, and workshop space for rehearsals and other events.

The arts centre is due to close in summer 2020 to allow the transformation to take place, and is expected to reopen in summer 2021.

The venue is home to a year-round performance programme and last week hosted several events as part of Paisley’s Spree festival, and will be packed out again for the ever-popular PACE Youth Theatre panto this festive period.

While the arts centre had a number of improvements to the outside of the building in 2012 the facilities inside had become outdated and needed more than a makeover to change that – but the planned work will create 21st-century facilities inside the historic building.

The project is being taken forward by Renfrewshire Council and the venue will continue to be operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The images revealed today show how Paisley Arts Centre will be transformed into a unique and intimate performance venue capable of hosting a greater range of events and performances than ever before.

“The council is investing in Paisley’s venues as part of a wider push to use the area’s unique heritage and thriving cultural and events offer to bring people into the town and create new life and footfall.

“The revamped arts centre will be more than a building – it will be a place where the town’s next generation of talent can learn, be inspired and have their first time on a stage.

“It will also complement other investments happening in Paisley’s venues around the town – both council and community-run – helping connect, build and support the growing creative community already active in the town.

“We expect the improved performance programme the new facilities will allow us to offer will see increased numbers coming to arts centre shows day and night – and boost the surrounding pubs and eateries while here.”

Other major investments happening in Paisley town centre just now include a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the town’s internationally-significant collections and story.

There’s also work to preserve Paisley Town Hall’s place at the heart of life in the town by turning it into a landmark entertainment venue and a new learning and cultural hub offering library services to be built in a modern facility at the heart of Paisley High Street.

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisley  or www.paisley.is

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