Peebles theatre seeks funding

Wednesday July 25th 2018

Eastgate-Venlaw-Road

The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles.

Written by Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter

A Peebles theatre has appealed to the common good fund to help redevelop its facilities.

The Eastgate Theatre is currently seeking to upgrade its auditorium, at an estimated cost of £410,000, the majority of which will be funded through EU and charitable grants, as well as donations from members of the public.

The theatre is seeking funding from the Peebles common good fund in order to unlock grant funding from organisations which require around 10% of their contribution to be matched by a third party.

The project has recently applied for two grants, one for £80,000 and one for £30,000, and will therefore need to secure third party funding from the common good fund amounting to £8,600 and £3,000, respectively.

The £80,000 grant will come from WREN, a non-profit company which funds projects with money raised by the landfill tax, while the £30,000 grant will come from the Land Trust, a land management and greenspace charity.

According to the theatre’s website, the aims of the Eastgate development project are “to increase access to, and participation in, the services and activities of the Eastgate Theatre by extending its capacity, physically and operationally, and by developing an expanded suite of facilities that can more effectively meet the needs and demands of the growing population of Peebles and surrounding areas, both now and for the future.

“In practical terms, this will involve some significant changes to the Eastgate. The main elements are expected to include enlarging the building’s footprint; reconfiguring the ground floor layout to create more café and studio space; upgrading the first floor auditorium by renewing the seating and improving sightlines; enhancing backstage facilities; and updating heating and lighting services throughout the building.”

The development project is in a race against time to secure a large grant from the EU’s Leader programme.

The theatre has been offered £150,000 by the programme, on the condition that it matches that funding with money from elsewhere, such as the WREN and Land Trust grants.

Eastgate Theatre has raised substantial part of the money, but is still £70,000 short of the amount needed to match the Leader programme funding,

The deadline for meeting this condition is 30 August, meaning the Peebles common good fund sub-committee has been brought forward to Monday 30 July, in order to maximise the chances of securing the additional funding on time.

Caroline Adam, the theatre’s general manager, said: “We have been working on the development project for 2 years and today the first major step forward is in sight.

“Fourteen years ago the Eastgate was created by the determination of the local community to realise the dream of having a space where all sorts of arts could flourish.

“Today performances in the theatre attract audiences of 21,000 a year and more than 40,000 people visit the Eastgate for other reasons.

“This development will provide an excellent theatre space ready
to meet future demand. We are very close but it won’t happen at all unless we reach the £70,000 target with this final fundraising push.”

The redevelopment will see all of the seating in the auditorium replaced or repositioned to increase space and improve the sightlines from the balconies, as well as installing new hand grabs on the aisle seats and improving the heating and ventilation systems.

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