Byre Theatre to stay centre stage

Byre Theatre, St Andrews.
Byre Theatre, St Andrews.
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SCOTLAND’S only five-star arts attraction, the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, will be a key partner in discussions to outline the future of cultural provision in the Kingdom after the controversial plan was given the green light by Fife Council.

However, the popular St Andrews theatre has made it clear that its identity should not be comprised and its brand and individual strengths must be maintained in any new set-up.

Following the recommendation by the local authority’s housing and communities committee to create a new cultural trust for Fife to run its libraries, museums, theatres and archives, the Byre board has pledged to work with the council and fellow cultural partners to ensure a sustainable long term future for cultural services in the region.

The Fife Cultural Trust will run the various services instead of the local authority, a move which is designed eventually to save millions of pounds.

The Byre’s chief executive and artistic director, Jacqueline McKay, said: ”We look forward to working closely with Fife Council and our cultural partners over the next year to support the creation of a new body to sustain and enhance the culture on offer for everyone in Fife.

”The Byre enjoys an enviable reputation, regionally, nationally and internationally for its performing arts productions, co-productions, festivals and programming, as well as its Fife and Scotland-wide arts education initiatives.

“As a key partner we will work to ensure that the design and make-up of the new trust preserves and builds upon the many successes of the Byre Theatre and supports the further development of the widest and fullest range of cultural provision.”

The multi-million pound theatre plays a key role in the cultural fabric of Fife and across Scotland and holds a valued role in the St Andrews community.

“As the country’s only five-star theatre, an award consistently achieved since the it opened in 2001 and most recently achieved last month, it is a recognised asset to Fife and we look forward to maintaining and developing our core strengths and working with our partners in the future,” she added.

The theatre has also recently been recognised for its work in attracting business sponsorship and was a finalist in two categories at the national Arts and Business Scotland Awards.

It was officially commended for partnership work with Barnett’s of St Andrews at an awards’ ceremony in Aberdeen recently.

Frank Quinault, chairman of the Byre board told the Citizen: ”The Byre will be a key partner in discussions over the next year to outline the future of cultural provision in Fife.

The board and management are broadly supportive of the recommendation in the report to establish a single cultural trust to manage and operate libraries, arts, museums and archives – provided that this can be done in a way that preserves the special strengths and brand of the Byre.”

The Byre’s valuable expertise in its staff, programming, project initiatives, is recognised throughout Fife, Scotland and beyond. It played a leading role delivering Fife’s Celebration of Culture in 2010 and is a lead cultural catalyst for the arts in Fife.