South Scotland

Final push for funds for Dumfries Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal
Image caption The Theatre Royal is the oldest working theatre in Scotland

When the curtain falls on opening night, there will be a collective sigh of relief at the newly-refurbished Theatre Royal in Dumfries.

Not least because now, 10 months before the building reopens following its renovation, there is no curtain.

But that is a minor hurdle for the volunteers who have already raised the £1.9m needed to fund the comprehensive facelift.

In their final push to finish the theatre, The Guild of Players, the volunteers who own the building, are breaking with the fundraising norm.

They hope to raise about £20,000 in cash donations but they have also appealed for donations of the physical items they need to create a working theatre.

In addition to a good quality stage curtain, the guild has drawn up a wish list of items including computers for a media suite, a washing machine for cleaning costumes and a industrial freezer for storing interval ice cream.

Group member Kristen Layne said: "In terms of props and theatre-type things, we have a tonne of that which will be going back in. We are certainly not starting from scratch.

"What we need is things like tables and chairs in the bar. We have always just had folding tables because we had multi-use rooms.

"And we'll have a much bigger lobby - we never had room before for chairs and counters."

Image copyright Other
Image caption The theatre will be extended into two neighbouring buildings

The guild hope they can persuade businesses to donate large items and that individual supporters will make cash donations.

They are also looking to make money from selling props, costumes and other theatre paraphernalia which has accumulated in the building.

In their first jumble sale they raised £800. Amongst the items on sale were ties in "50 shades of grey" and about 60 waistcoats.

Ms Layne said: "Things like that get accumulated but it wasn't until we got it all accumulated at our new base at the Crichton that we realised we had so many duplicates."

Built in 1792, the Theatre Royal is acknowledged as the oldest working theatre in Scotland but it has been closed for the last year.

The group received a series of grants and donations, including an award of £322,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to finance building work which will see the theatre expand into two neighbouring houses.

They hope to open the theatre for the 2015 pantomime season, before an official opening in early 2016.

Image copyright Guild of Players
Image caption Their first jumble sale raised £800

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