National Theatre of Scotland to relocate to new £5.5m HQ

by -

The National Theatre of Scotland is to consolidate its headquarters in a new £5.5 million home for its rehearsal, administration, technical and storage departments in the north of Glasgow.

In keeping with the company's founding ethos as a 'theatre without walls' there will be no performance space in the new facility, in a converted warehouse owned by Scottish Canals. Completion of the move is expected in 2014.

Describing the plans as the "logical next step" for the company, chairman Richard Findlay said: "From original small headquarters in Glasgow’s Easterhouse and the city centre to our current collection of offices, rehearsal spaces and stores, the consolidation of these functions under one roof offers us a wonderful opportunity without compromising our 'theatre without walls' philosophy.

"We would also hope to be in a position to be a support to other theatres and arts organisations in Scotland given the additional rehearsal space we will have."

The news comes as part of a Scottish Government announcement of £7 million of capital grants for culture projects. This includes £2 million towards the relocation of NTS staff and facilities.

Part of the thinking behind the plan is to create a hub where artists, actors, writers and young people can work together in creating and developing projects. The proposed new facility is in the Speirs Locks regeneration area which also houses Scottish Opera's production studios and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's dance campus.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "Even when money is tight, it is essential that our national theatre can flourish. This proposed development will enable greater opportunities for collaboration across the organisation, as well as providing better creative and community facilities.

"Together with funding already announced for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s new home and Scottish Opera’s redevelopment of the Theatre Royal, this represents a significant investment by this government in Glasgow’s cultural infrastructure in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games."

The cost of converting and fitting out the former warehouse is expected to be approximately £5.5 million and the refurbishment will be delivered with support from the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership. The NTS  will now work on plans for the building conversion and raising further finance. The building would be rented on a fixed term lease.

The Speirs Locks Masterplan covers a 14 hectare site north of Glasgow city centre and adjacent to the Glasgow branch of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The proposals provide a framework to allow the area to develop and evolve as a centre for creative industries over the next 15 years.

The NTS is currently housed in buildings around Glasgow with leases which are due to run out in the next two years.

Besides the NTS funding, the £7m capital grants include an extra £1.5m for Creative Scotland's heavily oversubscribed capital programme.