Scottish arts centre plans multimillion-pound revamp

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An Aberdeen venue has launched a £5 million redevelopment plan that will include a refurbishment of its children’s theatre, which has fallen into disrepair.

Arts Centre and Theatre Aberdeen will approach organisations including Creative Scotland to help fund the project. The refurbishment will take place in stages and also includes plans to redevelop the existing cafe/bar and install a new retail space.

Paula Gibson, executive manager of ACT, said the initial focus would be on the children’s theatre, which could be finished by 2014.

“The people that come to us see it as their second home,” she said. “But the children’s theatre itself is becoming less attractive and therefore not so much activity happens in it.”

Gibson said the plan would include new toilet facilities and disabled access. Work will begin on backstage areas once the revamp of the children’s theatre has been finished.

Oil and gas group Total has given financial backing to the project, and ACT has launched a restoration fund, through which patrons can choose to donate £1 per ticket every time they book a show.

Gibson added: “It’s a very supportive, positive thing that the public can engage in and actually feel they are contributing towards the development of the centre.”

ACT, formerly known as Aberdeen Arts Centre, recently unveiled its new name and logo along with a re-carpeted and repainted 350-seat auditorium. It currently employs a team of volunteers who work in the cafe/bar and box office.