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Hello Here’s to an Amazing Autumn! What an incredible Festival of Fun, Food, Folk we had over this glorious summer, packed full of so many incredible moments including Singin in the Rain, three Summer Camps, fabulous cabarets, a wonderful popup performance by the Nevis Ensemble, all culminating in our ‘Festival Finale’ at Kilmarnock Academy – what an incredible day that was. So here we are in Autumn season with all Creative Learning classes up and running again. It is wonderful to see so many new and returning faces making it their #timeforcentrestage. I am particularly enjoying seeing so many new young faces in our junior Gospel Voices on Friday evenings. I’m looking forward to another great year of singing and new faces- and voices- are always welcome! It’s incredible to realise that this is our magazine’s 1st birthday already and to celebrate, we have a few very special surprises to look out for across Centrestage in the coming weeks. Watch this space! The season, as always, has a packed ‘What’s On’ to look forward to. Please come along and enjoy

performances from across our community of “folks”. We have so much to look forward to. It’s unbelievable to think that the next time we catch up will be Christmas…oh yes it will! Already, we are developing our plans for our best Christmas and I can’t wait to share them with you. Here’s to an Amazing Autumn!

Fiona. Connect with me on Twitter @fionacs

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YOUR CENTRESTAGE CONTENTS... FUN: • • • • • • • • • •


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FOOD: • • •


FOLK: • •

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PAGE 29. We’ve added #payitforward to When taking a paper copy, we would appreciate any #payitforward donation that you can give. This will go straight back into supporting our projects across Centrestage!

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‘WALL OF SOUND’ ROCKS THE CENTRESTAGE THEATRE With the huge success of ‘Wired for Sound’ earlier this year, we thought it only right to revisit the madness this Summer with ‘Wall of Sound’ in August. Our Chief Operations Officer Paul Mathieson, also known as an 80s music mastermind, created another brilliant night with favourites from ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ and ‘Holding out for a Hero’ being performed alongside new classics like ‘Shut Up and Dance’. This time round, the performers were joined by Centrestage’s own Gospel and Soul Choir, taking part in their first cabaret night, who opened the 2nd Set with powerful renditions including ‘Life is a Highway’ and ‘St Elmo’s Fire’, finishing with their classic number “Proud” led by Anne Harcourt. When they weren’t performing, Gospel were partying in the audience singing, dancing and cheering along to all the great hits and we are looking forward to their next appearance already! Our live nights are always made even more special with the involvement of our CS Band, and their incredible musicianship made it truly a night to remember as described by band member and vocalist Cammy Hill: “Wall of Sound was an epic show. Playing with the CS band is always an enjoyable experience and the incredible audience were with us every second of it. “

Keep your eyes peeled for our next live music night, “Millenials”


Don’t Miss Out !





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WE’RE DIGGING THIS DANCING QUEEN! The lights dimmed, anticipation was in the air and the audiences had high expectations after the spectacle of last year’s Aspire production of “Do You Hear Aspire Sing?” but as the show got underway, we quickly realised that Aspire would reach new heights with their very special tribute to Mamma Mia. For the very first time, our Aspire company were split to give more opportunities for our stars to shine and, without exception, they gave everyone an unforgettable experience as they told the story of Sophie as she tried to learn the identity of her real dad in time for her wedding. Amanda and Amber effortlessly conveyed the role of Sophie with Kathryn and Fiona sharing the challenging role of mum Donna. We managed to get a quick chat with Kathryn just before she went on stage… She told us, “I first came to Centrestage with Downs Syndrome Scotland. Coming here really helped with my self-confidence as before loud noises used to scare me, now they’re a part of my everyday life!” She also shared how she deals with nerves before a show; “I’m very excited for Mamma Mia but I also get very nervous. I just keep going over my lines and singing the songs and that helps me feel better.” This is not the first lead part that the girls have taken at Centrestage as last year Kathryn played Fantine in “Do You Hear Aspire Sing?” and Fiona played the Narrator in last year’s pantomime, but both girls truly shone as Donna, ensuring there wasn’t a dry eye in the house during their rendition of “The Winner Takes It All”. Scott, who played Bill, told me; “I’ve been coming to Centrestage for a long time, around ten years now! I’m very excited to be doing Mamma Mia, I’m always excited for any show that we do!” and scene-stealer Colin, who played Harry said, “I came to Centrestage with the same group as Kathryn and I love to be involved in the shows and to be on stage!”. Colin had the audience in stitches with his adlibs as well as reducing many to tears with his emotional rendition of “Our Last Summer” Audience members gave rave reviews to the performers as they left,

with many praising the work of the huge team, led by Jonny and Laura, who were responsible for supporting the cast to reach such wonderful standards of performance. And now it’s time for this year’s Christmas Panto…OH YES IT IS!!! Watch this space.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT COLOUR THIS SEASON! Did you know that all of our Centrestage team merchandise is designed and printed in-house by our very own Centrestage Enterprise team led by Nina Russell based in John Finnie Street. Nina and her team have created a wonderful bright new collection this season, starting from just £10 in a mixture of sizes and colours with a great range of zipped hoodies for all ages available too! We are now committed to only using organic cotton tshirts that are produced by members of the ‘Fairwear Foundation’. This not only protects the people who cut and sew our t-shirts, but also the farmer who grows the cotton and the land on which it is grown. When they arrive in Kilmarnock we only print using soil association approved inks, so we can ensure that our customers

At Centrestage Enterprise we love to create! Not just staff uniform and t-shirts for customers, but costumes and props for shows, bags, badges and mugs for our ever expanding Centrestage communities! We also accept orders from outwith Centrestage offering

receive high-quality ethically sourced garments.

competitive prices for personalised mugs and t-shirts.

Please ask our reception team for an order form and we’ll

Enquiries to

have them ready for you for collection in no time! #fairfunfoodfolk

nina.russell@centrestagemt.org.uk 01563 551505 ext 219 | 07902566827

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We may have just enjoyed one of the hottest Summers in

awkward set changes and Paul Mathieson, Dave Kerr and

recent times, but we had a prolonged rainy season at

everyone on the Technical Team worked tirelessly to


create some of the most magical moments ever seen on

CS Performers staged the classic musical “Singin’ in the

our stage.”

Rain” during the final week of June and as temperatures

But what about that rain, where did it come from and

soared outside, the rain poured down onstage! It was a

where did it go?! David Kerr, our Technical Manager

huge undertaking bringing such an iconic musical to the


stage and the production featured a cast of 35 adult performers, 6 children and an orchestra of 15 musicians alongside the hidden heroes in the technical and front of house teams.

“The entire stage had to be built up to create a pool area, waterproof flooring was laid, drainage was installed under the stage, water tanks & filters were brought in together with a series of electric pumps and then pipes and

The technical requirements of the production were huge,

sprinklers were installed across the stage area overhead.

with 19 scene changes, video projection sequences, some

We even had to move the majority of the lighting so it

of which had to link with live action on stage and of

would be clear of the wet areas.”

course the requirement for rain, yes real actual rain on stage…not once but twice! Stuart Bird who directed the show said;

And afterwards it was all removed within just one day, what an incredible effort from all! The show was not only an outstanding box office success

“I’m so proud of this production. Not only did we have a

but an artistic success too, with thrilled audiences giving

brilliant cast who coped with the extreme heatwave at the

standing ovations after all 6 shows.

time but everyone worked incredibly hard to make this show seamless. The fast-moving and ingenious set design kept the show moving along at pace avoiding slow

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So what’s next for CS Performers? We have yet another musical blockbuster up our sleeve but you’ll have to wait a little longer to find out just what it will be!



As the dark nights start to creep upon us why not make this your time to get involved at Centrestage in one of our

Head of Creative Learning Stuart Bird shares his excitement about the Autumn term. “We have so much

many ‘Creative Learning’ classes. It may be dark and dismal outside but in the Centrestage Theatre there is plenty of #funfoodfolk magic taking place.

planned with so many exciting productions this season and remember everyone can get involved. Have a look at our class guide and we will hope to see you at one of our classes soon.”

Creative Learning is at the heart of everything we do at Centrestage and is open to all ages and abilities, we have something for everyone to enjoy from beginners to advanced, babies and toddlers to grannies (and grandads!) Our extensive programme includes classes in Musical Theatre, Dance Theatre, Acting, Vocal, Additional Support Needs, Pre-School and Technical Theatre. No audition is ever required to get involved, and you can join a class at any time throughout the year. Our many Creative Learning classes all have associated production outcomes in our very own custom built 200 seat Centrestage Theatre.

This term we’ve introduced two new junior ‘Gospel and Soul’ classes for 5-14 year olds and added a new Friday slot for ‘Teeny Talent’ 2-4 year olds and there will be new activities added throughout the year as we work towards an expanded programme when we relocate to the Kilmarnock Academy site in 2019. For more information on all of our activities, please visit our website on www.centrestagemt.org.uk, give us a call 01563 551505 or drop into James Little Street for a chat!

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The sight of the bright lights illuminating the stage, the wonderful sound of harmonies echoing from the assembly hall and the smell of delicious food drifting out through the busy halls were just a few senses captured by the spirit of our ‘Festival Finale’ in what will be our new home at Kilmarnock Academy. . This was such a special day as we welcomed over 1000 people for an action-packed afternoon full of fun, food and folk! The MC for the day was our own Stuart Bird, Head of Creative Learning, who engaged and entertained our






interviews throughout the day. Participants from all of our activities performed and shared their stories and a highlight for everyone was the fashion show created and staged by our young Connect

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members. It wouldn’t be the CS Open Day without the sound of Terramundis being smashed by Angus and his willing junior helpers- with some enthusiastic parents too! Tours of the building were also led by members of the Centrestage #oneteam, detailing all the creative visions and ideas we have for the site and we were delighted that over 400 people took part in exploring the site and sharing their ideas. We can’t wait to arrange more events here over the coming months so look out for updates on social media and on our website www.centrestagemt.org.uk


CONNECTERPRISE We all have ideas about making new products and services, but how many of us turn them into reality? Well that’s exactly what 6 Cumnock Academy Connect learners achieved recently, taking up the challenge of creating a product to sell at Centrestage. After some support and guidance about market research, they realised there was a gap in the gift card area and as a team they worked together creating designs to form a selection of top quality products. They worked meticulously through the term, only stopping for short breaks involving ice cream, which they assured us was for medicinal purposes, due to all the team talking required! They met many of our CS #oneteam for great advice in Graphic


Accounting, Product Marketing and Pricing. The team asked many questions, giving them the valuable information they needed to put their plans into action. By the end of the term, they had produced 6 fabulous designs and arranged their presentation in the Centrestage CafĂŠ. On the day not a seat was empty, as they all took their turn to explain how they played their part in creating their product. The team, which they named Connecterprise were thrilled to make many sales and, as their reward, Centrestage whisked them off to Dumfries House for a day of fun activities during the Summer programme. They have now passed the challenge over to the new Cumnock group who are now expanding to include our learners from Irvine Royal Academy in designing their new product. Well done to all the team on setting a great standard and good luck to the new teams stepping up to the challenge.

The Connecterprise Gift Cards are available from Reception and are the perfect size to hold Centrestage Gift Vouchers.

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The events were all a brilliant success with

temperatures and sunny skies….and one of our most

fantastic attendance across the season and brilliant

successful Summer Camp seasons ever!

production outcomes in our wee Theatre!

Our Festival of Fun, Food & Folk kicked off with the

The season came to a fitting end with a brilliant original

outstanding success that was “Singin’ in the Rain” but that

work created by Head of Dance, Marlisa Ross & Head of

was just the start of the run of Summer fun!

Creative Learning, Stuart Bird. ‘Like Me’ followed a group

This year saw our Creative Learning team deliver a series of not one, but five themed Summer Camps for kids aged 4 to 12 years. Our 4-12 year old young people enjoyed four brilliantly creative and fun Summer experiences that began with a re -run of our Easter Camp The Greatest Showkids. This was followed by ‘Gangsta McGranny & The Magical Tartan Teatray’, ‘The Wizard of KilmarnOz’ and ‘The Incredibles

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of teenagers over a year, exploring the dark effects that social media can inflict upon young people. This powerful performance stunned the audience, with those attending commenting on how relevant and thought-provoking the production was. The team hope to develop more productions around these important themes and we will aim to present ‘Like Me’ again in the future.

A DAY OF FILMING AT STV Back in July, four lucky members from Team Shortlees were given the incredible opportunity to visit STV HQ in Glasgow for what was most definitely a first for them, as they took part in an afternoon of filming for the official STV Children’s Appeal advert. Abbie, Aimee, Debbie and Sapphire were given a fantastic welcome by the STV team and even had their very own make-up artist ready and waiting to make sure that they looked extra special for the cameras. After being asked, “what Centrestage meant to them?” the girls were expertly guided through the experience by STV producer and director Ami Anderson with some wonderful footage being produced. The girls left just a few hours later grinning from ear to ear after their unforgettable experience. Our four stars can be seen throughout September and early October on STV1 during advertising breaks as the girls help

to raise awareness for the STV Children’s Appeal, which is such an important funder of so many of our projects.

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DANCE FRINGE Our Head of Dance, Marlisa Ross with four dance companies, supported by the front of house and technical teams, presented four thought provoking, powerful, emotional and beautifully danced performances at our very first Dance Fringe event in September. Each production was unforgettable and each presented a unique take on its subject.

In Mayhem’s Groove On Down The Road, we were taken on a contemporary trip down the Yellow Brick Road to Oz where the young performers taught us that schools are not always the main source of our education and that our hopes and dreams come from within ourselves. Lois and Rebecca, who played the Scarecrow and Wicked Witch respectively, took a break from their rehearsals to share their feelings on their upcoming performance; “We’re really excited to be in the show, we’ve worked really hard and can’t wait for everyone to see it”

Fusion’s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth held a very specific message around just how far individuals are willing to go for fame and acceptance. The powerful performance forced the audience to ask harsh truths of themselves and the final twist left the audience stunned. Shona from Kilmarnock told us; “These young performers were fabulous at demonstrating all the different emotions the characters in the show were feeling.”

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The dystopian world of George Orwell’s 1984 was interpreted by the CS Dance Theatre company. The cast performed a flawless reimagining of the classic and disturbing work and Kathleen who performed as one of the sinister twins spoke of her expectations of the night’s shows; “I’m most looking forward to seeing how the audience responds to all the hard work we’ve put in, and to see all the talent of the younger groups too!”

The final performance of the day was the sombre portrayal of Jane by the 25yr+ Dance Theatre group. The performers eloquently told the heart-breaking story of Jane Haining, a Church of Scotland missionary who gave her life to protect young Jewish girls in the Holocaust, through dance, dialogue and narration. They received a standing ovation and audience member Elaine stated; “I have never been moved by a performance like that in my life, it was incredible!” This first dance fringe will certainly not be the last. Thank you to everyone who was involved in creating this very special event.

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A NIGHT OF WONDERFUL MEMORIES AT CENTRESTAGE In celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th birthday, we presented a special cabaret featuring the very best melodies from the legendary composer. Our singers performed well known songs from “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, alongside lesser known but equally lovely works including “Tell me on a Sunday” and “The Perfect Year”. This cabaret is always a popular event when it appears in our programme and two sold out performances took place over the weekend. We were delighted to welcome enthusiastic audience members, old and new, to the performances and we were also delighted to welcome young performers from “SPIRIT” who were making their very first appearance in a Centrestage Cabaret.

Heather Taylor, one of the CS Performers, said “’Memories’ was a fantastic show to be involved in! I loved the diverse group of performers and we were all delighted to hear the wonderful audience feedback after the show”. We look forward to making many more “Memories” in the

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ASDA FOOD This Summer our friends at ‘The Asda Foundation’ supported delivery of our Dignified Food Provision ‘On the Road’ in the first wave of charitable grants from its new Healthy Holiday Fund.

events, can ease some of this pressure.” In response to the donation Lorna Dougan Centrestage Operations Manager said, “What a wonderful contribution from the Asda Foundation that will help provide some

There is a total of £200,000 available to good causes

Centrestage fun and food to kids across our Ayrshire

across the UK with individual grants available up to £1,000

communities this season. We very much look forward to

to enable local charities to run more activities for children

building relationships with the Asda Foundation team

over the holidays. We were delighted to receive £1,000 to

going forward.”

fund our ‘On the Road’ activities for children throughout the holidays, while also providing them with healthy meals

and snacks. The initiative comes following the launch of Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change movement and Asda Foundation Manager Emily Harrison said, “We’re delighted to be able to support a number of brilliant local charities across the country this Summer. We know that families can find it difficult to entertain children over the holidays and sometimes find the increased cost of catering for their children a challenge, so we hope that our Healthy Holiday Fund, by enabling local charities to hold more children’s

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IT’S ALL ABOUT EAT Our ‘Eat & Train’ course launched in April this year over 12 weeks in 10 areas across Ayrshire, teaching people how to cook marvellous nutritional meals on a budget. What a wonderful journey our trainees have been on. We had 52 folks graduated from the course on the final week, inviting their friends and family to enjoy a delicious 3 course meal prepared by our talented participants before they received their certificates in recognition of their achievements. We have had so many fabulous comments on our private EAT page and so many photos of incredible meals created at home! All the candidates in each area made new friends and it became a wonderful social gathering for all involved. Of the 52 participants, 15 have gone onto volunteer, 4 are starting work placements, 8 are progressing to college, 1 has achieved full time employment and all are now cooking more healthily for their families. Our oldest class member was 84 and our youngest was 9 and every single participant told us that they looked forward each week to the course, learning new tricks and skills from our team of chefs as well as enjoying the games…our CS bush tucker trial was a favourite!!!! We have started our second session and cannot wait to see what this session will bring!!

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Saturday 21st July was a very memorable evening at

having some of our Connect learners present to support

Centrestage, when, instead of taking place in the theatre,

and learn from the front of house and chef teams. Kelzie,

the production was staged in our Café/Bar!

Leon and Briony were a huge help and a real pleasure to

Our very first “Gin, Food, Folk” night showcased the talents of our chefs and front of house teams and was the concept of our very own Stewart Lauder, who MC’d the night perfectly. The concept was a four course tasting menu, each course matched with a bespoke cocktail to showcase some of Scotland’s best tasting gins. This was not only a chance to showcase the best local produce, and Scottish produce in general but was also an opportunity for our experienced team of chefs to flex their creative muscles to prepare for what will be on offer when the organisation moves to a single location at Kilmarnock Academy. The mouthwatering dishes were a huge success with the delighted diners, especially the slow cooked short rib of Ayrshire beef, which Catering Manager Kevin Alexander had been cooking since 9am that morning! The Café/Bar was transformed into an intimate dining room for the evening with just one large table for all the diners, creating a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. Making the evening extra special was the added bonus of

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work with. They were polite and charming to all the

customers and staff and were a huge part of making the evening such an enormous success. There will be many more events like this scheduled in the future so watch this space!


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Marie Macklin CBE has been a part of our journey for many years and we are delighted to have her continued support and guidance as we make the move towards Kilmarnock Academy. As our Charitable Patron. We asked Marie to share her thoughts… “It’s a real privilege for me to become Patron of Centrestage and to be given the opportunity to continue my support for this amazing organisation as it enters the next stage in its development.

story of my former school. “Kilmarnock runs through my veins and I’ve always been

amazed at what Centrestage has been able to achieve in improving the lives of local people in such a meaningful and engaging way. Now, with the move to the Academy they will be able to achieve so much more. And it is my sincere hope that as The HALO urban

regeneration project, which is a personal passion of mine, rises out of the ground on the former Johnnie Walker site

“As a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy, it’s even more

we can work closely with Centrestage as we seek to

poignant for me to take on this role at this time as

provide opportunities, particularly for the young people of

Centrestage prepares to open the next chapter in the

East Ayrshire and beyond.”

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20TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION WITH OUR FRIENDS AT THE HUNTER FOUNDATION It was a privilege for us to be invited to attend the 20th birthday celebrations of The Hunter Foundation in July. The foundation is a proactive venture philanthropy that seeks to invest in determining model solutions to systemic issues relating to poverty reduction and educational enablement worldwide. Initially through our work in Ardeer with STV Children’s Appeal, The Hunter Foundation supported us to develop and deliver our “Dignified Food Provision” and “On the Road” models and it has since continued to support and challenge us as we have implemented “Leadership Connect” in schools across Ayrshire. The birthday celebration was a night to reflect on its incredible achievements, hear from Sir Tom Hunter himself, as well as representatives from organisations supported by the Foundation, including our CEO Fiona McKenzie, who told some of the Centrestage story and shared our gratitude for the support and guidance that we have received. Several participants from across our activities were also lucky enough to attend, including James Whyte, one of our young Connect participants, who said, “I felt really excited about attending this event with all the others from Centrestage, it was great to hear all the stories and get to hear the musical performances as well, I was also asked to present a gift of Centrestage Tartan to Sir Tom from the team. It was an amazing night.”

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I was allowed to view the interior of the old Kilmarnock

hall, I seemed to sense an atmosphere of decorum and

Academy building on 28


high respect for academic learning still contained in these

spontaneous kindness of a lovely young man, Frank

austere walls. Even in the 1950's, education was taken very

Gormanley, whom I had never met before. At my request,

seriously in Scotland. Some teachers seemed almost god-

he invited me to accompany him into the old wing of K.A.

like in remote authority (perhaps too much so, looking

(on the top of the hill) to view its interior area. It was a joy

back on it ...!) Some, such as the Latin master, wore a

for me to stand again in the spacious central atrium of my

formal academic gown to teach in class. The Rector of the

old school, where (after completing Stewarton Secondary

Academy (called irreverently The Beak) strode around the

School) I was privileged to be a pupil for one brief year

Academy resplendent in a black academic gown.

August, thanks to

between 1958-59, after which I moved south to England.

For some decades I had not revisited this space. As I stood in the lofty main hall, many pleasant memories of fellow pupils and K.A. teachers came flooding back, with a happy sense of my reconnecting to Scottish "roots". This, after a lifetime of many experiences, of living in different lands, and of worldwide travels. As I gazed around the lofty open central atrium, it felt like a time-warp to see that the original interior layout of this building had not changed a whit.

Unchanged was the original, rather

Dickensian interior design, with original flooring, rooms, partitions,







balustrades and stairwells on three levels connecting the many classrooms, all details looking the same as more than fifty years earlier.

Class discipline was strictly upheld. Neatly-dressed pupils sat up straight, paying close attention to the teacher once the lesson began. Whispering in class to a neighbour sharing a small, hard wooden seat and desk, could elicit a sharp reprimand from the strict-faced teacher at front, albeit all pupils were young adults aged fifteen and over. At lunch breaks, K.A. pupils were free to wander around the town centre. I felt privileged to walk with my class chums down the steep steps to the main shopping areas, or to the Dick Institute, always wearing the smart maroon KA blazer with its Old Testament school motto and coat of arms displayed on the top blazer pocket. I loved the traditional sandstone building which held our classrooms, and all the traditional aspects of this sort of

education and felt pride in knowing that I attended the same school as notable former pupils such as local boy Sir Alexander Fleming, who famously discovered penicillin for world-wide use.

Most of my Arts syllabus rooms were in this building. I recalled French and English classes held in the highceilinged rooms with tall sash windows which were opened and shut by teachers holding long wooden poles with a metal hook on one end. As I stood still in the great

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Now, in 2018, I was delighted to learn that Kilmarnock Academy is being transformed from its former more restricted uses, into Centrestage, as a very eclectic and welcoming and creative modern meeting-place where the Arts will flourish, for the benefit of all townspeople and others, of all ages and abilities. It is to become a centre of creativity, joy and soul work, and now in these less restrictive times, I cannot think of a more worthy and wide-reaching use for my honoured alma mater. Art History studies led me to an abiding interest in architecture, so as a final thought,

I would

encourage users of the old K.A. building also to remember the skills of the Scottish stone masons of long ago, who built this noble traditional red sandstone building with great care and precision, using quality materials for its enduring appeal, so that this amenity could be passed on as an inheritance for our enjoyment, in whatever new ways it is to be used at present.

I wish every continued success to the vision and enthusiasm of all

Centrestage organisers, and may all partakers have many joyful creative times in this wonderful sanctuary that was my old school.

Mrs. Maia Egerton August 2018

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I joined the Centrestage #oneteam back in May and I’m

followed by our Sporting Lunch on 9th November at Ayr

really delighted to have arrived at such an exciting time

Racecourse featuring Craig Brown as our guest speaker.

for the charity as we work towards our move to

We are looking forward to welcoming friends old and

Kilmarnock Academy.

new to these events to find out more about Centrestage

With over 20 years’ experience in fundraising (showing

and to hear some really incredible stories.

my age here) I’m passionate about making more people

We are also building links with corporate partners who

aware of the incredible work that Centrestage delivers

are helping us in so many ways, through volunteering,

across Ayrshire each week and have been working with

sponsorship and fundraising and we would be very

the team to build a programme of great events to help

grateful to hear from any companies who would like to

raise the vital funds required to deliver our activities, from

get involved.

Musical Generations to Reach Out and Aspire, none of which currently have any funding supporting their delivery.

Watch this space for our full fundraising diary of events for 2019 and if you’d like to have a chat with me on how you can get involved, or if you have any great fundraising

The first two events will be our Ladies Lunch on 14th

ideas, please drop me an email at

October in Lochgreen Hotel hosted by Edward Reid


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AILEEN CAMPBELL PAYS US A VISIT AT KILMARNOCK ACADEMY Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, visited Kilmarnock in September to learn how organisations and people are working together to help transform local communities. During the visit, which was hosted by Centrestage, the Cabinet Secretary met with East Ayrshire Council Leader, Councillor Douglas Reid, Depute Leader, Councillor Elena Whitham, Chief Executive Fiona Lees, Depute Chief Executive, Katie Kelly and Willie Coffey MSP, to learn more about the Council’s approach

The Cabinet Secretary also had the opportunity to learn about some of the Centrestage’s wider work and Connect, Catalyst and On the Road participants and team members were excited to share their stories. Our “Absolutely Marvellous” Ian Maconochie was on top form as ever and the Cabinet Secretary heard many great tales of the team’s activities across Ayrshire and, in particular, learned about the development of the Centrestage Dignified Food Provision(DFP) model, which seeks to eradicate food insecurity and reliance on food banks whilst teaching new cookery skills to people of all ages in communities. DFP has expanded in its delivery across Ayrshire, redistributing hundreds of tonnes of surplus food from partners, creating delicious meals that are delivered through the ‘On the Road’ and “Eat And Train on the Road” programme.

“I was delighted to see first-hand how their hard work and innovative approach is helping to tackle poverty and inequalities and improve the lives of local people. “This iconic building, which is being redeveloped with a support from our Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, will not only provide a new home for the organisation, but crucially it will allow them to continue to expand the support and enhance the opportunities they provide for Kilmarnock and its neighbouring communities.” CEO at Centrestage Fiona McKenzie said: “It was wonderful to welcome Aileen Campbell MSP to Kilmarnock Academy today and share our vision and ideas for this incredible site. “It was also significant for our participants from across our activities to share their stories on how Connect, Catalyst and Dignified Food Provision continues to support them with thanks to the vital and continued backing from the Scottish Government.” Following the visit, Aileen Campbell MSP tweeted: “What an inspiring visit to see the guys at @CentrestageMT – projects and people delivering great things for @EastAyrshire communities. The energy was palpable and so too was the passion from all involved.”

She said: “I was pleased to hear how the strong partnership working between the Scottish Government and East Ayrshire Council on the Social Innovation Partnership has supported Centrestage to take ownership of the Kilmarnock Academy for the benefit of the community.

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“I’m from Shortlees, Kilmarnock and I’ve been

“So, what is a laldy?”, people ask in response to our

attending Centrestage Connect since 2016. Since

enthusiasm and Helen and I stumble through a

then I’ve really enjoyed getting involved in literally

variance of descriptions that never seem to do it justice.

every activity that Connect has offered, from acting,

It’s a kind of sing song but its splattered with old guys

filming, all art activities, all kitchen and cooking

playing spoons or dominoes and cheery folk feeding

activities, volunteering, Enterprise, all sports activities,

you sweeties and coffee.



including Ayrshire Warriors. I also took part in the Kiltwalk with Connect the past two years, which was brilliant fun!

To be honest, we don’t really know how or why but we leave happy because it works!

I’ve got a real passion for health and fitness and have just recently started Ayrshire College studying a Health & Fitness course. I’m also a weightlifter at Scottish and U.K level and recently completed a residential trip in the Lake District for the Mark Scott Trust. Things are really good, and I thank the Centrestage







encouragement over that past two years.”

IT'S ALL ABOUT OUR FOLK! 'Your Centrestage' takes the opportunity each edition to introduce you to some of the wonderful folk across the charity, from staff and volunteers to our communities that engage with us across all our projects everyday. This months it's all about Rebecca, Sheena, Ally and Mr & Mrs Nicol... enjoy their stories! Remember if you have a Centrestage story to share, why not get in touch with our team and you could be featured in our Winter 'Your Centrestage'.

Your Centrestage | 30.

CS Stories



“Centrestage is such a welcoming place and

“I have been working for the last 30 years (I know

environment where you can find your interest, enjoy

you can’t believe this!!). Firstly, in insurance for 16

yourself and discover your talent. There is a range of

years and then in the bank for 14 years.

classes which cater to the needs of young and old

experience made me realise what I love best is


talking and helping people.


Personally, it’s been an amazing journey for me by participating in a variety of classes, then becoming a volunteer, which has led to employment. It’s a privilege to see children develop which is a highlight

for me. There are so many opportunities which enable people to develop in their chosen activity including as singing, dance or acting. By regularly attending classes people grow in confidence and self-esteem

and make new friends. Developing strengths, unlocking potential.



I started with

Centrestage in February 2018 and the job was completely different to the previous one. However one thing remained the same and that was the people who I was dealing with!!

Centrestage took my connection with people to a new level and I have found my life purpose with the job I love! You meet so many different people and hear so many different stories whether that be staff, communities or customers.

Every day is different

and amazing!! At last I have found my dream job!

Your Centrestage | 31.

A chat with OOR Rhona

If you pull back the curtain on any performance here at Centrestage you’ll find a dedicated and invisible team hard at work ensuring the night’s production runs effortlessly and efficiently. Every team member is vital in bringing

the audience, enjoying every minute of every show. As Rhona said, “My mother was one of the first folks to join Musical

each production to life and one of the longest standing

Generations! Music has always been a part of our family!”

members of the team is Rhona Mathieson, who is

When preparing for a show, Rhona is given an outline of

responsible for the huge range of costumes and props

the performance by the director or choreographer and

required for the 80+ shows performed each year at

works quickly to establish which props are needed for


each scene. For costumes, Rhona tells us;

Rhona is not just “Queen of Props”. She is also the mum of

“If I’m having difficulty sourcing a particular piece of

Centrestage co-founder Paul and has been part of

clothing I’ll often ask Nina at Enterprise if she can help and

Centrestage since the very beginning, helping the original

we work together to find an appropriate solution. She is

team bring the building to life over the summer of 2006!


She has always loved music theatre as have generations of

Rhona insists that it takes everyone working together to

her family. Mum Ethel was a singer and Dad Bill was a

create the magic that is Centrestage which, of course, is

director and producer and both of them were great

correct. But it takes a special someone to keep everyone

influences on Rhona, encouraging her to be part of both

together and connected and that special someone is

Kilmarnock and Ayr Amateur Operatic Societies. In


addition to this, Bill directed many productions at Grange Academy, along side Paul and Fiona, including the Scottish Schools Premiere of Les Misérables, which is such an important production in the story of Centrestage. When Centrestage opened, Rhona became a member of the Gospel choir but was involved in so much more behind the scenes and as the productions developed, there were very few weekends that passed without Ethel in

Your Centrestage | 32.

What’s On

Your Centrestage | 33.

Stuart Bird Head of Creative Learning & Production

AUTUMN IS HERE, THERE’S A CHILL IN THE AIR… AND GREASE IS THE WORD! Time at Centrestage moves in seasons of shows (for me at

“Wall of Sound” are back with a brand new high-energy

least!) ….as my Facebook memory function likes to remind

production of “Millennials”! Don’t miss it…. it’s set to be

me! It seems like only yesterday we were enjoying some of

one of the big gigs of the season! If you love your

last year’s big hits such as “Rent”, “Shell Shock” & “Whistle

musicals, don’t miss our CS Performers company in their

Down the Wind”!

annual cabaret show “Magic of the Musicals” in November

Details are now finalised for our Autumn/ Winter Season and it’s set to be another great one, packed with great music events, dance, theatre and of course…musicals! One of the season’s highlights is set to be “Grease” which will play for just four shows in November. Be sure to join our 15-21yrs Musical Theatre Company as they enroll at Rydell and take us on a joyous journey through the timeless score! Our Wee Stars will present their specially created







Kilmarnock twist on a familiar tale…don’t miss them in “Freezin’.” If you love our live music nights, then we have a bumper season coming your way. Kicking off with “A Gospel Gathering” featuring our fantastic Gospel & Soul Company in September followed by “An Unlikely Afternoon with The Lads” and their very special guests, including our Rising Stars,




Your Centrestage | 34.





and our 8-11yrs MT performers will present their very first Generation MT showcases just as we hit December. Our Actors are back too with another packed Fringe Festival in

September. Christmas is of course always a special time at Centrestage and this year is no exception. Kicking off with the Aspire Pantomime in December, it’s always a season highlight! Gospel and Soul deliver their special blend of festive fun in

A Gospel Christmas and the season will conclude with A Very Centrestage Christmas…. A magical blend of Christmas words and music. What more could you ask for? (Wow… am I really talking about Christmas already!?) All our events are now on sale so book now and avoid disappointment! Stuart Bird

Find me on twitter @sbcreativeglw



Our CS Adult Actors, Young Actors and Junior Actors companies combine to bring you an evening of scenes, sketches and songs.


The ever popular Unlikely Lads are back with another fun filled afternoon of great music and entertainment, featuring guest performances from across our communities.



Millennials is a three act cabaret featuring some of the greatest hits from 1990 to the present day! Get ready for a wild night with all your favourite songs from Busted, Girls Aloud, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Rhianna and many more. Text the bar available on the night. Book your tickets now!


SATURDAY 20TH OCTOBER @ 5.00PM & 7.00PM | TICKETS £10/£8

To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1, Centrestage is presenting “Shell Shock”, the powerful dance theatre production first premiered at CS in 2017. This time, it will also mark the first Centrestage performance to take place within Kilmarnock Academy, at the site of the War Memorial honouring the memory of masters and students from the school, whose names were the inspiration for the story.



Our CS Performers Company present their favourite selection of musical hits old and new!

Including music from Pippin, The Greatest Showman, We Will Rock You….plus some less familiar shows too!

Book Now on 01563 551505 or via TICKETSOURCE.CO.UK Your Centrestage | 35.

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OOPS, SORRY! There are only chocolate crumbs left from our 1st Birthday Cake but don’t worry, to celebrate our 1st Birthday, watch this space for your chance to grab yourself a sweet treat from our Café/Bar and also our ‘Bring a Friend to Centrestage’ invitation that’s coming soon… exciting times!

#yourcentrestageturns1 Centrestage Communities Ltd is a company limited by guarantee and a Scottish Registered Charity. Scottish Company No: SC382945 Scottish Charity No: SC039611

11-13 James Little Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 4AT | 01563 551505 www.centrestagemt.org.uk

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Your Centrestage Issue 5  

Your Centrestage Issue 5