Paisley Arts Centre transformation underway
Work has now started on a transformation of Paisley Arts Centre which will add new modern performance facilities and an extension to the much-loved historic venue.
The building is being upgraded as a unique and intimate performance venue and creative hub, which will drive new life and footfall into the heart of the town centre when it reopens next year.
Workers are now on site at the building, in New Street, with the refurbishment to include:
- a redesigned public space at the front of the building, removing the railings and adding new paving and seating.
- a small extension housing a new entrance and expanded bar area for pre-and post-show drinks.
- improved main auditorium, with new retractable seating and a better audience experience.
- new back-of-house and performance facilities, including better sound and lighting, new kitchen, improved dressing rooms, and workshop space for rehearsals and other events.
The programme of work has been designed to be sensitive to the 250-year-old site’s previous use as a former church. The graveyard area at the side of the building will be left untouched.
Extensive surveys were carried out to establish if there were any graves in the area in front of the building, where work is taking place. One monument at the front of the building will be repositioned slightly but surveys showed no grave is present underneath it.
The refurbishment is part of a wider investment in Paisley’s cultural venues by Renfrewshire Council, which supports Future Paisley – the wide-ranging programme of events and activity using the town’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage story to change the area’s future.
This includes the transformation of the town’s museum into a world-class visitor destination, the work to preserve Paisley Town Hall’s place at the heart of local life by turning it into a modern entertainment venue, and building a new home for library services in a formerly-empty retail unit at the heart of Paisley High Street.
When they reopen, the venues will be operated by OneRen, the charity which provides culture, leisure and sport opportunities to help people enjoy active and healthy lives in Renfrewshire. The reopened arts centre will host a year-round programme of music, comedy, theatre and much more.
Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of OneRen, said: “I am delighted to see work is now under way on the refurbishment of Paisley Arts Centre.
“For more than 30 years, it has been one of Scotland’s most vibrant small arts venues, but while work was done to the outside of the building in 2012, the facilities and audience experience inside it were in need of the upgrade which this work will deliver.
“Once reopen, the building will be able to offer a better range of events than before, bringing new life and footfall into the town centre and to the surrounding businesses day and night.
“And we hope it will also become a hub for the town’s thriving creative community – providing a base for our cultural groups to work from and help nurture the next generation of local talent.”
Michael Scanlan, Director at Clark Contracts – the main contractors for the work – added: “As a Paisley-based contractor, we are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council again to deliver this transformation of Paisley Arts Centre, which will provide high-quality facilities for the local community.”