The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 11 July 2011

South Ayrshire Council takes next steps to re-open Gaiety Theatre

Plans to begin the reopening of the Gaiety Theatre before the end of the year have received a further boost as South Ayrshire Council approved a loan of £50,000 for Ayr Gaiety Partnership and agreed to finalise a lease agreement for the iconic Ayr theatre.

The interest-free loan to Ayr Gaiety Partnership – the Council’s partner in the project to reopen the Gaiety – will provide working capital to support the reopening of the cafe/bar in the autumn and will be repaid over five years, with the first year payment-free.

[An artist’s impression of the new cafe/bar, provided courtesy of architects The McLennan Partnership.]

Improvement works are set to get underway at the theatre later this month to deliver a new fully functioning cafe/bar and box office as the first stage in reopening the theatre.

Opening in the autumn, this will create a flexible facility that can be used for stand-alone events in a fabulous, modern and purpose-built space as well as providing bar facilities for theatre nights.

Alongside this, discussions will continue to finalise the details of the lease agreement for the theatre building with Councillors agreeing that the partnership can lease the building at a cost of £1 per year, with the option to purchase the property for £1 being built into the lease.

The signing of the lease will be an important element in progressing applications for further external funding for the theatre.

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: “There is a hive of activity underway to reopen the Gaiety and the approval of the loan and the steps to finalise the lease are another milestone on that journey.

“One of the key challenges we face in reopening the Gaiety is to ensure it can be sustained and the investment provided by the loan will help the cafe/bar achieve just that. I am also delighted we are moving closer to finalising the lease of the building to the Partnership, which will act as a symbolic and historic handover, showing how far we have come.

“The Gaiety Theatre will reopen and reinvigorate arts and culture in this area and this now takes us closer to that becoming a reality.”

Ian Welsh, Chair of the Ayr Gaiety Partnership, added: “Getting the works underway, opening the cafe/bar and getting the keys – as it were – have been at the forefront of our initial ambitions, so this is a major step forward.

“And it’s only the start of the continuing journey to see the theatre fully operational and delivering a quality events programme for residents and visitors alike.

“That’s our ultimate aim and we’ll continue to do all we can to make it happen.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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