Ayr Gaiety to reopen with December panto

Ayr’s Gaiety theatre is to reopen in December with a pantomime production of Cinderella, produced by Michael Courtney and starring Gary Lamont with Leah MacRae.

The Ayr Gaiety Partnership, which took over the running of the 584-seat receiving house after it went dark in January 2009 for health and safety reasons, sees this as the first step towards turning the venue into a new hub for arts and culture in South Ayrshire.

Vince Hope, AGP’s development manager, told The Stage: “The main event to open the theatre officially will be the performance of Cinderella on December 14, 2012. In the background, there will be a couple of preliminary soft events to help test systems, staffing and equipment. The studio theatre will be open from October for smaller scale events, acoustic performances and so on.”

Issues over the venue’s cafe bar area, previously a sticking point to reopening, look to have been resolved. AGP says that it is concluding discussions with its preferred operator over a lease on the premises, with an option to purchase. Heads of Terms and plans of the building “should be in place” by the end of this month.

AGP chair Ian Welsh said: “This is excellent news – not just for the Partnership, Council and university – but for everyone who has helped ensure that the Gaiety reopens. Government funding is helping us to complete the outstanding works required and we are developing plans for the programming of the performance venue as well as the main auditorium to complement our developing arts and culture programme.

“The Scottish Government remains committed to work with us, and other national agencies, to meet the outstanding capital funding gap and we are currently finalising applications to Creative Scotland and other agencies. We will now be engaging with South Ayrshire Council and the University of West of Scotland around events and business planning and other joint-working opportunities to develop a full, purposeful and integrated marketing strategy for arts and culture venues in South Ayrshire.”

Online booking has already opened for Cinderella, which will run from December 11 to January 6.

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