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Nashville New Year A Richt Guid Nicht Indeed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Generation MT Stepford’s Secret Kill The Lights & Spellbound Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra Takes Centrestage! Edelweiss Pirates


FOOD: • •

On The Road Throughout Ayrshire Eat & Train Season Three Already!

FOLK: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Arts at The Heart Jasmine Bater’s Award In Memoriam of the Fallen Our CEO Fiona McKenzie Shortlisted for National Award Massive thanks to the West Kilbride Boys Brigade It’s all about #fitfunfolk Get behind our Centrestage Kiltwalk Ambassadors Meet The Kiltwalk 2019 Ambassadors Experience Centrestage It was all about coming together at Centrestage Last Christmas Family and Friends Hub at HMP, Kilmarnock gets Centrestaged Keeping you updated on Centrestage Village It's all about our folk!

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Find out more about our 2019 Creative Learning classes


Your Centrestage | 02.

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!

Hello It’s beginning to look a lot like….Springtime! Welcome to our 7th edition of ‘Your Centrestage’! The nights are starting to get a little brighter and we have already had the most wonderful start to the year, welcoming new #oneteam members and meeting more folks across all our activities. At this same point last year, we had just announced that we were about to embark on a journey that would culminate in Kilmarn ock Academy becoming our future home. It is with great excitement and gratitude that we can announce that the process was completed in Fe bruary and that groundworks will begin in April, making this beautiful and historic site fully accessible for the entire community to enjoy f rom early 2020, making the Centrestage Village a reality; a place to bring people together, creating connections and building relationships; a village with the arts at the heart, bringing folks to the centre of Kilmarnock to be part of our wonderful community. We will be keeping everyone updated on all the news and we cannot wait to share the story as it unfolds. Our 2019 season has seen so many wonderful productions already, from our “Nashville New Year” and ever popular “Richt Guid Nicht”, more wonderful and original dance productions including “Stepford Wives”,“ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and “Edelweiss Pirates” and, for the very first time, our Gospel and Soul choir gave a joint performance with the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra at Kilmarnock ’s Grand Hall. These have all been very special nights and, as we look forward to Summer season, our three 8-11yrs Musical Theatre companies are getting ready to journey to Agrabah as they tell the classic story of Aladdin. Don’t miss out. There may be magic…! And believe it or not, it’s time to get ready for Kiltwalk 2019! Following last year’s incredible events, we are aiming for this years’ walk to be even more fun than before! The 2018 walks made it possible for us to purchase our very own community buses to bring folks of all ages together, reducing loneliness and building connections ac ross Ayrshire look out for photos coming very soon as they are just getting a wee facelift at present!

We would love it if you could get involved in any way this year and if you are unable to walk for us, there are so many ways you can help, from sponsoring our Ambassadors representing activities from Aspire to Musical Generations; sponsoring entry fees for folks across the community who may struggle to pay it; helping sponsor transport to take our folks there and back… So many ways to help and every single penny makes a difference and, for every single £1 raised, The Hunter Foundation donates an incredible further 40%. If you’re feeling keen in 2019, please contact frank.gormanley@centrestagemt.org.uk or call 01563 551505 and we will be delighted to tell you more!

What a year this is going to be. We can’t wait to see you…! There’s a New Village in Town…!


Connect with me on Twitter @fionacs Your Centrestage | 03.



Your Centrestage | 04.

Your Centrestage | 03.

NASHVILLE NEW YEAR We kicked off 2019 with a

bang on Saturday 12th

It was great to see not only the cast but the audience

January with our Nashville New Year. Our country

dressed up in their cowboy boots and Stetsons as well.

cabaret featured old and new country classics from our

The Wild, Wild West was certainly alive and kicking in the

Centrestage Ambassadors. With stetsons a plenty and

Centrestage auditorium!

‘Text the Bar’ across the evening it was a party night to


Our chefs also got into the Nashville spirit and created a fantastic Southwest menu and our Front of House team

An enthusiastic rendition of ‘It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere’

even rustled up a few signature cocktails which went

opened the show with our cowboys and cowgirls

down a storm with everyone!

bringing the audience to their feet for a spectacular shindig. Not only did our guests dance along on their

own accord, they were also taught an entertaining line dance to accompany ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ later on in the

“I had a BBQ beef brisket sandwich that was delivered to my seat with the ‘Text The Bar’ service, it was absolutely phenomenal!” Kirsty told us.

set. The excitement shone through in the auditorium

If there’s one thing that can be said it’s that Centrestage

from curtain up to the classic reprise of ‘Take Me Home

certainly know how to throw a party, especially a

Country Roads’ that rocked the finale.

Nashville New Year one!

Audience member Courtney said; “There’s no better way to bring in a new year of fun than with a wee line dance at Centrestage’s Nashville New Year!”

Stay tuned for more rip-roaring cabaret nights across 2019

Your Centrestage | 05.


Saturday 18th January marked our annual A Richt Guid

Witty speeches were also performed on the night in a toast

Nicht show to celebrate Ayrshire’s bard, Robert Burns,

to the lassies and lads of Centrestage with the audience in

Centrestage style! Our audience were treated not only to

stitches at the many playful jokes and jibes at the expense

songs, shanties and poems galore, but also to a delicious

of the other performers (all in good fun, of course!)

three course meal prepared by our chefs and served by the night’s performers! “The food really was exceptional, the level of talent in both the performers and the chefs was outstanding. The best Burns Night I’ve ever been to!” Katie said. Whilst our performers of all ages performed numbers ranging from the classic ’Ae Fond Kiss’ and Cameron Hill’s incredible ’Tam O’Shanter’ to modern Scottish songs, including ’This Is The Life’ and even ’Wee Andy Lloyd Webber’s Scottish Medley’, our team of chefs worked tirelessly to produce a stunning menu of Cullen Skink soup, Haggis, Neeps & Tatties and Cranachan to the delight of our guests on the night. Then, as the haggis was piped out to the centre of the

auditorium, guests joined performers in jigging away to a few Scottish ditties. Helen told us; “I attended A Richt Guid Nicht last year and had a blast! This year more than lived up to my expectations from 2018!”

Your Centrestage | 06.

The evening was brought to a close by a harmonious rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ during which our performers and audience linked arms in a united celebration of Rabbie.

Many are looking forward to what we have planned for

2020 already. Haste Ye Back…!


Fusion Dance Theatre entertained the audience with their performance of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on Saturday 16th February. Set against an intricate Edinburgh backdrop created by our technical team, the cast portrayed a witty yet

thought-provoking rendition of the story of the 1930’s freespirited teacher in a conservative Edinburgh girls school. The audience were captivated by our Head of Dance, Marlisa Ross’ original dance theatre adaptation, which captured every nuance of emotion across the classic story. The

production told the story of how teacher Miss Jean Brodie slowly becomes more manipulative towards the favoured girls in her class, nicknamed the ‘Brodie Set’, and becomes entangled in a complicated love triangle with two other teachers. “The performance was equal parts funny as it was moving, the girls were truly fantastic. I think this is the best show I’ve seen this year!” Maureen told us on leaving. The cast did a wonderful job of capturing the complex and different characters of each member of the Brodie Set and special mention must go to Lauryn Cameron who perfectly portrayed the title role.

Your Centrestage | 07.


On Saturday 26th January, our 12-14yrs Musical Theatre company presented an evening of incredible vocal talent that saw performers explore a variety of styles of muscial theatre songs and dances, from West Side Story, Finding Neverland and even a preview of the upcoming Little Shop of Horrors! With one performance at 3pm and another at 7pm, both casts put on incredible displays of talent throughout the day, entertaining and delighting the audience for both sittings. From the titular songs of “Legally Blonde” and “Alexander Hamilton”, to powerhouse performances of “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” and “Suddenly Seymour”, Generation MT ensured there was a tune for everyone to sing along to! Caroline, an audience member, told us; “The kids were just fantastic, everyone has their moment to shine and the performances were just pieced together so well!”

Every performer gave their individual best to create two unique performances, showcasing these talented teenagers and making all of their hard work worthwhile. Well done to everyone involved!

Your Centrestage | 08.

Look out for more of our Musical Theatre shows!


Saturday 3rd February saw the auditorium packed full of expectant guests eager to find out what Stepford’s secret was… and they were not disappointed! The Stepford Wives provided a fantastic mix of comic wit and intricate dance that delighted all who attended the performance. From Joanna’s hilarious logic and cynicism to Bobbie and Charmaine’s fantastic comic relief, The Stepford Wives was an incredibly creative production from start to finish. The Stepford Wives told the tale of Joanna, a young

Melanie told us; “I loved every minute of The Stepford Wives! It was so cleverly done, and both me and my friends found it as hilarious as it was breath-taking!” A massive well done to both our performers and their director and choreographer, Marlisa Ross, for all the effort and talent they put into giving us the most spectacular dance production!

woman who moves to Stepford with her husband, where she suspects something isn’t quite right with the women of Stepford’s behavior and tries to uncover the strange little town’s secret. This was the first dance theatre performance staged by our Adult Dance Theatre class which meets on Wednesday evenings at 6pm and was an incredible achievement for all concerned. Thanks must also go to Nina Russell and her Enterprise team for creating the beautiful costumes and to Hazel Cuthbert for her time and expertise in styling the wigs and hairdos so perfectly.

Your Centrestage | 09.

KILL THE LIGHTS & SPELLBOUND It was a magical evening on Saturday 23 rd February as our

stitches, the whole performance was so well thought out!

Actors Theatre presented a double feature of Spellbound

We enjoyed it so much we stayed to watch the Young

and Kill The Lights. Our 8-11yrs Junior Actors delighted our

Actors and they were just as engaging and entertaining in

audience with a performance of Spellbound which saw

Kill The Lights!”

them transported to a land of witches and goblins and our 12-16yrs Young Actors entertained with Kill The Lights where a birthday sleepover almost becomes a disaster as a group of teenagers are terrorised by strange lights in the sky. With the performers witty dialogue and hilarious cues, Spellbound had the audience rolling with laughter in the aisles. Then our Young Actors enthralled and spooked our

Both Actors companies did incredibly well and put on such spectacular performances that the night was sealed with uproarious applause from the audience. We look forward to our CS Actors upcoming performance of “Dad’s Army” with some very special surprises too.

Watch this space...!

audience with the tale of a birthday sleepover that soon becomes frightening when the addition of some paranormal interference threatens to take over the celebrations. Fiona, the mother of one of our Junior Actors, stopped to give her thoughts on the night’s performances; “The candid humour of the Junior Actors had us all in

Your Centrestage | 12.


Your Centrestage | 12.

Saturday 2nd March saw us take our performers to sing in

and piper for unforgettable performances of “The Skye

the historic venue of Kilmarnock’s Grand Hall, where our

Boat Song” and “Amazing Grace”.

flagship Gospel & Soul Choir and ever popular Unlikely Lads joined forces with The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra for a spectacular evening of music and fun! Sharing the stage with the AFO, our Gospel & Soul Choir entertained the audience with uplifting renditions of

To round off the evening, the company performed “Oh Happy Day” which has become known as a staple of Gospel & Soul Choir’s fun-filled Friday evenings.

By the close of Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra takes

“Something Inside So Strong” and “My Church”, which

Centrestage, the question on everyone’s lips is;

were met with huge applause from the enthusiastic

what’s next…?

audience. The Unlikely Lads also regaled the audience with a medley of Scottish singalong favourites and a variety of melodies accompanied by the Gospel choir and The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra. Maureen, thrilled by the night’s entertainment, stopped to give us her thoughts on the evening; “I am absolutely amazed by the sheer talent on stage tonight! I have been to a few Gospel & Soul shows before and the addition of The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra accompanying them is just delightful, as were the always wonderful Unlikely Lads!” The joint numbers that closed each Act were particularly special, seeing all of the singers combining with the fiddles

Your Centrestage | 13.


Saturday 2nd March marked an emotional performance at

“The performers tonight were just amazing. I’ve never

James Little Street as Mayhem Dance Theatre took to the

seen such a controversial subject handled with the

stage for the moving production of Edelweiss Pirates. This

elegance it was tonight, and by such young performers! It

evocative performance saw our 12-14yrs Dance Theatre

was equal parts enchanting and emotional, an absolute

company tell the true story of a group of German


teenagers who rebelled against Nazi Germany, refusing to participate in the Hitler Youth and standing up to the regime. Mayhem

The emotion felt by the audience was clear to see at the show’s finale, as many left with tears in their eyes and unable to speak. An absolutely spectacular production by






emotional tale with such precision and grace that there

was not a dry eye left in the audience at the performance’s conclusion. While the teenagers the performers portray were initially seen as an irritant to the Nazi leaders, eventually their anarchy was taken more seriously, and Himmler ordered a brutal crackdown on the Pirates. Their fight was not without hardship, but their fight for freedom remains one of the most inspiring stories of the 20th century. Audrey, a member of the audience, shared her thoughts on this incredible performance;

Your Centrestage | 14.

such incredibly talented performers and their director, Marlisa Ross.

“Our song is freedom, love and life, we’re the Pirates of the Edelweiss.”

Visit our Centrestage Café/ Bar and catch up with your family and friends to enjoy something from our Seasonal Menu, Grab and Go fridge or enjoy a hot drink with a choice of delicious sweets treats to choose from. Our little VIP’s now have their own menu at Centrestage - they can even colour it in! Not only that, they’ll get a free Centrestage balloon, sticker and they can help themselves to something from our fruit bowl.

We can’t wait to welcome you very soon!

Your Centrestage | 15.

ON THE ROAD THROUGHOUT AYRSHIRE Come and visit us in your community! A big thank you to our food suppliers, friends,

Ayrshire who can take what they need and pay what

families and work colleagues who donated towards

they can for the wonderful meals created from

our Centrestage Christmas campaign.

surplus food by our incredible team of chefs.

The donations helped over 50 families within Ayrshire

Our community corner brings folks together with art,

and helped to support Santa in his grotto with over

music, food and crafts all available around a cuppa

300 selection boxes donated! We have been

and our Catalyst team members have joined the “On

inundated with clothes and toys and have created

The Road” experience, bringing their expertise on so

room across Centrestage Village to store all the

many subjects from housing, budgeting, finance and

donations that will be used across the year. This is a

so much more right into the heart of communities.

work in progress and we are always grateful for any donations that can be distributed to those who can

Pop in anytime for some fun, food and folk!

benefit across our community.

In January 2019, our faithful “On The Road” bus retired with the On The Road team now visiting 13 areas across Ayrshire within community hubs to provide Dignified Food Provision to families across

Your Centrestage | 17.

EAT (Eat & Train)

EAT & TRAIN SEASON ALREADY! 66 people, 9 areas, 12 weeks, 1 chef and 9 mentors, and we’re ready to make this happen! January saw our award winning Eat And Train (EAT) project take to the road again for its next 12 week session and participants are enjoying learning how to prepare healthy nutritional meals on a budget from our award winning chefs, Mich Brooks and Craig Ferrell. The previous sessions have already seen significant success with participants of all ages progressing to volunteering, work placements, college and employment. But most importantly, everyone is enjoying cooking at home and enjoying the wonderful recipes created in the classes with their families. Friendships have been made through the course and candidates are becoming more and more confident as the weeks progress. We are delighted that previous candidates are now mentoring our courses and encouraging the new ones on their journey of success!

Your Centrestage | 18.


Your Centrestage | 19.


Art at the Heart is one of the key focuses with our young folks at Centrestage Connect, from the original Twilight Workshop on Thursday evenings to the super successful White Cube Gallery in the Burns Mall in Kilmarnock Town Centre last Summer. Every Art session we deliver at Connect aims to widen folks access to visual art and artistic practice by giving each and every individual the chance to find their inner artist working with the theme and materials available. Once our collection is created, we showcase the work, in our Café/ Bar at Connect Creative Celebrations where friends and family get invited to enjoy the exhibition. We also work closely with Nina from Enterprise who uses designs across various merchandise. We are also incredibly proud that some of our young Connect

artist’s works are hanging in the National Portrait Gallery to be viewed and enjoyed by their thousands of international visitors. We also broaden our horizons by frequently visiting Art Galleries across Scotland where our young folks gain new perspectives through wider viewing of contemporary art, giving them further inspiration for their own projects. Watch this space as we work on some exciting artistic creations for Centrestage Village and look out for future ‘Art at the Heart’ sessions delivered from Connect House.

Your Centrestage | 20.

JASMINE BATER’S AWARD We are so proud of Jasmine Bater and Charlotte Ayre,

best they can be, as well as being influential in securing

who were both finalists in East Ayrshire’s Year of Young



Budgeting stream that enabled the successful White Cube







surroundings of Dumfries House, alongside young people from across East Ayrshire. Both girls are part of our Team Connect and their achievements in their time with us have been both significant and inspirational. Jasmine won her category of “Diversity and Inclusion Champion” and, as if that wasn’t enough, also won the overall “East Ayrshire Young Champion” award, decided by Depute Provost Claire Leitch. The Depute Provost told us; “Picking just one candidate to win the overall prize has






Gallery to take place in the Burns Mall last year.

Jasmine won the overall award as she has tirelessly championed the work of others, always accepting people for who they are, avoiding stereotypes and being passionately vocal against any form of discrimination. She’s frequently given up her own time to support

learners with additional support needs and helped them gain SQA qualifications. But perhaps the most influential of her achievements has been the setting up of a ‘Safe Place’ to help support victims of abuse and discrimination.

been an extremely difficult task, every single person who

She started by directing a promotional video to pitch for

entered is worthy of winning in their own way. I chose my

funding from Sir Tom Hunter’s 100 Disrupters Group and

winner, the award of overall ‘Young Champion of East

has now seen the project to fruition. I have no doubt that

Ayrshire’, because I love to use my platform to spread

becoming Youth Champion is only the beginning of a

messages of love and equality and making a stand to say

very bright future for Jasmine Bater”.

that intolerance or discrimination of any form is not

welcome and we will not stand for it in the proudly diverse and inclusive society in which we live. Jasmine and Charlotte have been huge contributors

Marc Barnes from our Connect #Oneteam comments on Jasmine’s win, “We’re so happy for Jasmine, she’s worked so hard to make a difference and everyone at Connect is delighted she’s been recognised.”

within Connect, supporting other young people to be the

Your Centrestage | 21.

IN MEMORIAM OF THE FALLEN You’ll remember our incredible poppy fall masterpiece that was created by the young people of Centrestage’s Connect project commemorating the centenary of the end of World War 1 in 2018. With over 5000 poppies spread across the piece, it took pride of place at our first performance at Centrestage Village, ‘Shell Shock’ and the artistic creation has been so popular with visitors to the site, we continue to keep it on display today. It is so important to keep the memory of each person remembered on this very special memorial alive and, to that end, we have created the “In Memoriam” books which

(Visitors at the Kilmarnock Academy War Memorial)

now rest in permanent display in The Gathering at the heart of the old Academy building. We hope that these will be read and reflected on by grateful generations to come.

Your Centrestage | 22.



Scotland’s No.1 magazine celebrates everything that

Frank Gormanley of our #oneteam recently accepted a

Scottish women stand for and their ‘Amazing Woman

generous donation of £350 raised by the West Kilbride

Awards’ return for a second year this Spring, held in the

Boys Brigade, who raised funds back in December by

Old Fruitmarket Glasgow, the day before International

taking on the role of postmen throughout the town.

Women’s Day.

Cleary many cards were posted!

‘Amazing Community Contribution’ recognises individuals

We thank them so much for selecting Centrestage

who go above and beyond to deliver positive outcomes

Communities as one of their three selected charities.

across their communities and we are delighted to see Fiona recognised in this category. Fiona said, “It’s a real privilege to be shortlisted for the award. Building community is at the heart of all we work to achieve at Centrestage and I am so proud of everyone across our #oneteam who goes above and beyond to make so much happen every single day.” The special night provides the platform to showcase the amazing achievements of women across Scotland, from sporting and business awards to caring for the environment. The event will celebrate remarkable women from all walks of life, celebrating their achievements. We congratulate everyone recognised and hope they enjoy a wonderful evening of celebration.

Your Centrestage | 23.

IT’S ALL ABOUT #FITFUNFOLK AS FOLKS OF ALL AGES - AND THEIR DOGS - TAKE ON THE 4 MILE CENTRESTAGE TRAINING WALK! As we get set for this year’s Glasgow Kiltwalk on Sunday 28th of April, preparations have already begun with our

first community training walk! On Sunday 3rd March, over 50 walkers - and 5 dogs - met at Centrestage Village for a 4 mile stroll through the streets and sights of Kilmarnock on a beautiful sunny morning. Our walkers were modelling this year’s blue Kiltwalk t-shirts created by Nina and her team and even the #dogsofkiltwalk got in on the act, with their tartan Centrestage bandanas proving to be a great hit! Enjoyed by everyone, with more than a few calories burned, we are all now very excited for our second walk,

scheduled for Sunday 7th April, which this time will last for 6 miles! We can’t wait to welcome even more of you that day, everyone is welcome, so bring your dogs, prams and grannies…! And there is still plenty of time to get involved in our great Kiltwalk adventure. Ask any of the team for details of how to join our community of walkers on the day or email kim.black@centrestagemt.org.uk.

We can’t wait!

Your Centrestage | 24

Get behind our Centrestage Kiltwalk Ambassadors this year as they take on ‘The Glasgow Kiltwalk’ 2019. On Friday 25th February, we opened the doors to the

incredible 40% top up received from The Hunter

Centrestage Theatre and launched our Kiltwalk campaign

Foundation, our overall total was £25,281.

for 2019. Hosted by our very own Jonny Griffin, the event provided the platform to update everyone on our Centrestage Bus that we all walked for last year, in

So, if you’re “Feeling keen? Walk with Centrestage in 2019!”

addition to hearing from some of our 2019 Kiltwalk

Challenge yourself to take on the 23 miles of the Mighty

Ambassadors from across our Centrestage activities. Our

Stride, the 13 mile long Big Stroll or the more relaxing 6

CEO, Fiona McKenzie also took the opportunity to share

mile Wee Wander– regardless, make this #youryear to

the incredible news of the official completion of the Asset

join us and walk with your family, friends or colleagues

Transfer of Kilmarnock Academy to Centrestage, a

and enjoy what is such a special day. Even better, this

massive milestone in the legacy project.

year, the Wee Wander is fully accessible so we’re hoping

As ‘The Kiltwalk’ is the biggest fundraising event in the

to have lots of prams and wheelchairs wandering with us!

Centrestage calendar our launch is a big deal and our

Transport will be available for a donation if required and

#oneteam, communities and partners look forward to it

you’ll also receive your Centrestage t-shirt to wear on the

every year. This year it’s all about ‘Feeling keen? Walk with

day. Sponsorship forms and fundraising guides can also

Centrstage in 2019’ and Kiltwalk Ambassadors from across

be provided.

our activites will take on either The Wee Wander, The Big Stroll or The Mighty Stride on Sunday the 28th of April in Glasgow to help raise funds for their special cause.

Visit The Kiltwalk website on www.thekiltwalk.co.uk to find out all you need to know about it and, if you would like

more information about the Centrestage 2019 Kiltwalk,

As a registered Scottish Charity, every penny raised

please call us on 01563 551505 and ask to speak with one

through our Kiltwalk campaign goes straight back into

of our Kiltwalk Ambassadors.

helping us deliver our activities to more folks across Ayrshire every day. Thanks to your generosity and support with Kiltwalk 2018, donations were received amounting £18,058 and, with the

Our 2019 Kiltwalk ambassadors all have their own Centrestage stories, let’s introduce you to them and let’s get behind them and donate what you can. #funfoodfolk #feelingkeen #cskiltwalk2019

Meet our Kiltwalk Ambassadors! Your Centrestage | 25.

I’m walking for Centrestage MEET THE

David Watson

Centrestage Activity: Catalyst

Colin Taggart

Centrestage Activity: Aspire Mentor


Noelle Miller

Centrestage Activity: On The Road

Carol Ingram

Centrestage Activity: Aspire Mum

Alan McLaren

Centrestage Activity: Patron

Gary Hunter

Centrestage Activity: Connect

Claire McNellie

Centrestage Activity: On The Road

Kirsty Harvie

Centrestage Activity: Aspire

Gordon Stewart

Centrestage Activity: Aspire Mentor

Colin Parker

Centrestage Activity: Chef/On The Road

Hugh Gorman

Charlotte Ayre

Gillian Reid

Euan Nicoll

Centrestage Activity: Musical Generations

Centrestage Activity: Connect

Centrestage Activity: Operations Manager

Centrestage Activity: Dance For Parkinson’s

Keep an eye on our social media for

www.centrestagemt.org.uk Your Centrestage | 26.


Winner of Stepford Wives tickets: Joanne Taylor

Winner of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie tickets: Kyra Crawford

EXPERIENCE CENTRESTAGE At Centrestage we want more folks from across Ayrshire

Winner of Kill The Lights & Spellbound tickets: Michele Cairns

and beyond to enjoy our productions that take place within our Centrestage Theatre in James Little Street, Kilmarnock. Across the Seasons our ‘What’s On’ programme is packed full of shows and events with something for everyone to enjoy. With Aladdin coming this Spring and our Summer production ‘All Shook Up’ there is so much to look forward to! So, for your chance to #experiencecentrestage, keep an eye on our Facebook page on the week of a Centrestage production, and on the Friday our #experiencecentrestage

post will give you the chance to win two free tickets to the Saturday show. Simply, comment, tag who you’d like to join you and share with your network. The winner will be announced early on the Saturday morning* Pictured are some of our previous #experiencecentrestage winners…

*Winner will be selected at random. Only take part if you’re available to join us at the advertised production.

Your Centrestage | 27.

IT WAS ALL ABOUT COMING TOGETHER AT CENTRESTAGE LAST CHRISTMAS It’s been a very quick couple of months since the

A massive amount of gratitude goes out to everyone

Christmas decorations were taken down and festive

that helped us help others last Christmas. We were

jumpers packed away for another year, but we had to

overwhelmed with donations of clothes, toiletries and

touch on the wonderful Christmas we had here at

food from our supporters.

Centrestage. Our first Christmas advert and message of ‘Together this Christmas’ captured our communities’ imagination, bringing people together to enjoy our Winter programme. Our collection of festive fun, food and folk activities across the Charity made the season so special with our best ‘What’s On’ yet, from the famous ‘Aspire Panto’ to our “Very Centrestage Christmas’ finale. Our ‘On the Road’ team also spent the month of

December across Ayrshire communities delivering our Dignified Food Provision, ensuring that folks that needed it the most had food provision to enjoy at Christmas.

Your Centrestage | 28

Here are some of our best photos capturing the season!

FAMILY AND FRIENDS HUB AT HMP KILMARNOCK GETS CENTRESTAGED Centrestage has been a part of HMP Kilmarnock since 2011 and, since the early days where music was the only offering, our Catalyst support is now provided inside the establishment with further advice and support provided in communities across Ayrshire as well as in the Catalyst Hub in John Finnie Street. We were delighted to be awarded the opportunity to provide the service supporting families and friends visiting the establishment and the Family and Friends Hub is now open, creating a warm and supportive environment for those visiting family and friends, especially first time visitors who are unsure of prison procedures. The Hub also provides light refreshments including sandwiches, fresh fruit, tea, coffee and juice and the layout has been designed to ensure that children can have access to indoor and outdoor play facilities whilst visiting.

Beth Barnes from our #oneteam heads up all Hub activities and is there to welcome and support all visitors. Paul Mathieson, Centrestage Chief Operation Officer said, “We’ve been working with HMP Kilmarnock for several years supporting individuals through our Catalyst activity. This new partnership will ensure that all visitors to the site gain a warm, helpful and friendly experience from Beth and the wider Centrestage #oneteam.”

Your Centrestage | 29.

From left to right: - Angela Graham, East Ayrshire Council, Transformational Programme Lead - Cllr Elena Whitham


- Cllr Douglas Reid - Eleanor McLaren, Centrestage Chair - Fiona McKenzie, Centrestage CEO


- Paul Mathieson, Centrestage COO

On Wednesday 20th February 2019, East Ayrshire Council

our Community Asset Transfer scheme, not only have we

officially handed over the keys of Kilmarnock Academy to

been able to preserve one of the most iconic buildings in

us, signifying a fundamental milestone in the legacy

our town, we will also be supporting a hugely successful

project. The exchange comes as arrangements are

local charity in its expansion plans, as well as contributing

formally concluded for what is largest Community Asset

to the enhancement of Kilmarnock’s Cultural Quarter.

Transfer in Scotland to date.

Centrestage has a proven track record of working with

We currently operate from seven sites across Ayrshire but

communities and individuals to nurture and promote

this transfer of ownership will see the development of

social enterprise and entrepreneurship. This move will

what will be our new home, the ‘Centrestage Village’

allow them to create new employment and volunteering

within the B listed former Kilmarnock Academy building –

opportunities as well as contributing to town centre

a move which will enable us to deliver all of our core

regeneration, and our local economy as a whole.

activities from a single location, allowing growth across all projects and offering significantly increased opportunities to work with and support new and existing local and

regional organisations and partners. Councillor Elena Whitham, Depute Leader of East Ayrshire Council said:

Empowering and enabling local community groups to assume responsibility for local assets is only one of a number of initiatives we have to encourage local groups and organisations to take the lead in helping to reshape their own communities. To date, we have successfully completed 50 community

“This is a proud day for both East Ayrshire Council and

asset transfers. Other initiatives such as participatory

Centrestage as we celebrate our combined efforts and

budgeting and community led action plans also ensure

hard work to make this transfer happen.

that local people continue to have opportunities to

At a time when so many community facilities in other areas are under threat, it’s great to know that, thanks to

Your Centrestage | 30.

become more actively involved in the shaping the future of East Ayrshire.”

A programme of works is currently underway to ensure the 1898 original building and more recent structures are fully accessible for visitors to enjoy all that the Centrestage Village will provide visitors from across Ayrshire and beyond. Fiona McKenzie, CEO of Centrestage said “To be able to retain the Kilmarnock Academy site as an educational facility from which the whole community, regardless of age, background or experience, will be able to benefit is a true privilege and challenge and is not a decision that we have taken lightly. We are totally committed to ensuring Centrestage Village becomes a destination for the whole community to be able to come together, to celebrate and respect its history, whilst creating new stories for the future.” In 2018, the Kilmarnock Academy Legacy Project was awarded






Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which supports projects in disadvantaged and rural communities. Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I’m delighted that the transfer of this important building has now been concluded. We’ve been able to support East Ayrshire Council and Centrestage with £2 million

from our Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, to allow the redevelopment of this iconic landmark. Community-owned buildings can be powerful catalysts for change. The redevelopment of Kilmarnock Academy as a new home for the charity Centrestage will help

expand the work they already do to improve people’s lives. I look forward to seeing the Centrestage Village take shape and seeing the positive impact it will have on local people.” This funding will contribute to the development of the Centrestage Village, including the creation of the arts, educational, community and creative spaces across the former Kilmarnock Academy site. We will continue to keep you updated within ‘Your Centrestage’ and online via our website www.centrestagemt.org.uk

Your Centrestage | 31.


“I was first introduced to Centrestage when a friend brought me to Catalyst at a time when I felt I was at my lowest point. I had nothing to do and I didn’t feel like I had a purpose but Catalyst welcomed me and didn’t look down on me, they gave me the belief that I


“I first came to Centrestage as a volunteer through outreach at Onthank after my kids became involved with Centrestage and I wanted to join in! I didn’t have the best childhood and wanted to enjoy my life through my kids. I came onboard with the ‘On The Road’ team three years ago as I love to help inspire other people

could do something with my life.

with difficult upbringings to be confident individuals.

This gave me structure and the get-up-and-go I was

I’m proud of where I came from to where I am now and

looking for, I felt wanted and that I was worth something. I volunteered to assist the staff at Catalyst and began answering the door and filing paperwork, I felt fantastic as it was like having a proper job. I then began helping out on the Centrestage bus around the communities and at the Dundonald kitchen to help prepare meals. Centrestage gave me a purpose in life

Centrestage has helped and supported me throughout the process. I’ve never felt treated as anything less than a part of the team and I feel so valued as an individual and employee by everyone. I enjoy being able to thrive through my work and give back to the community what I never had. I used to be a chef so I

was excited to be involved with ‘On The Road’ and ‘Eat & Train’ as I have an understanding of the preparation and presentation of

and I would love to go on and help out people in a


similar situation to what I was in.”

Most of all, I feel trusted and safe working with Centrestage, I have an amazing network and I just love that my job is to help and

inspire others.”

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 Taylor, Noelle, Afton and Hugh... 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 Summer 'Your Centrestage'.

Your Centrestage | 32.



Afton has been attending Centrestage’s Creative Learning ‘Wee Stars’

I got involved with Centrestage after I retired and

class for over a year now, and what a time she’s had. Afton has always

I came along with my sister to Musical Generations.


been musical and dramatic in her approach, full of energy and up for plenty of fun. Centrestage has supported Afton in her performance abilities and confidence, not just evident at Centrestage, but we have very much seen the impact across other activities that Afton gets involved in including her recent school show, and making it to the final

of the local Burns poetry competition. Monday is a tough day with it being back to school - but she very much looks forward to her class every Monday night, spending time with the other boys and girls, whilst probably asking the class Leaders many


I have volunteered here for three and a half years and love everything about it. When Elaine offered me a volunteer position, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The people here make a difference to everyone who comes along and I always try to raise money on behalf of Centrestage. Even putting in donations where I can.

questions across the session. Afton often speaks about Kate, Cameron,

I love music and Centrestage allows me to get

Graeme and the other Leaders who give all the young ones such a

involved in that.

wonderful experience each week - not forgetting the productions that take place throughout the year; ‘Freezin’, was very special back in December. So, on behalf of Afton, thanks for welcoming her into the Centrestage

family - she’s very happy and loves every minute of it! Claire Gormanley (Afton’s Mum)

Your Centrestage | 33.

Look out for our Summer issue of Your Centrestage with full Aladdin Jr. write up!

Stuart Bird Head of Creative Learning

Spring is in the air! I think (he said tentatively) we may have escaped a reappearance of the Best from the East! The sun is shining,

the daffodils are up and our new season is on sale! We’ve definitely got plenty in our programme to warm your heart as we approach Summer! For lovers of musical theatre, there are three fantastic productions heading to Centrestage. Aladdin Jr is on in March brought to you by our 8-11yrs Musical Theatre companies. The show is based on the recent Broadway hit musical and is sure to transport you to a whole new world! May sees the delightfully bonkers musical about

Seymour and his man eating plant. Little Shop of Horrors is definitely one to see and features a fantastic hit score by composer Alan Menken (Disney Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid.) If you love rock and roll, you’re going to love our big summer blockbuster musical which, this year, is the Elvis jukebox musical All Shook Up! Loosely based on Twelfth Night it features a dynamic score of all the Elvis hits and a riotous script - don’t miss it! For Dance lovers, Marlisa Ross brings us two fantastic productions. Firstly, a dark re-telling of the tale of Pinocchio from Dance Theatre 16+yrs and then, from our youngest dancers, a Roald Dahl themed show, as always, telling stories from a different perspective. There’s plenty to look forward to for live music fans too. The latest Wired for Sound cabaret night, with a school disco theme, takes to the stage in April, with our Gospel company returning onstage in June! Don’t forget our Wee Stars who are back in June with another devised show about the Grinch who stole the sun in Here Comes The Sun and our Easter Camp in April, which this year is based on the recent new Mary Poppins movie. Something for everyone… with arts at the heart!

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 competitive prices for personalised mugs and t-shirts.

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

Your Centrestage | 43.

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Your Centrestage Spring 2019  

Your Centrestage Spring 2019