Tayside and Central Scotland

Perth Theatre secures restoration grant

Ewan McGregor with Perth Youth Theatre Group
Image caption Ewan McGregor began his acting career at the theatre

The theatre where actor Ewan McGregor once worked as a stagehand has been awarded a £500,000 restoration grant.

Perth Theatre, which opened in 1900, will get one of four Heritage Lottery grants given to Scottish projects.

McGregor took up acting at the theatre and worked there while saving money to go to drama college.

The Kings Theatre in Glasgow, the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh and Campbeltown Picture House will also receive £3m between them from the fund.

Perth Theatre will use the money to restore its 800-seat auditorium, designed by William Alexander.

The venue became Scotland's first repertory theatre company in 1935, with its own craft workshop, paint shop and wardrobe facility.

About 60,000 people visited the theatre last season, but the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) said the fabric of the building was in urgent need of restoration and repair.

The money would help see the auditorium be "restored to its former glory", the HLF said.

'Unforgettable experience'

The upper circle, which has been out of commission since the 1960s, will be reinstated as will the orchestra pit.

McGregor said the grant was an exciting investment for future generations of actors and theatre-goers.

He added: "For me it was the start of a career, but for many others, participation in arts activities is an equally life changing way of broadening horizons, boosting confidence and self worth and encouraging creativity in all walks of life.

"To be a part of a collective, creative endeavour at the heart of a working theatre is an unforgettable experience."

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "Cultural venues have a hugely important part to play in the life of our urban and rural communities.

"They are held dear in our hearts as they are interwoven with the history and cultural traditions of our particular place and provide our towns with their own sense of identity."

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