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HORSECROSS A new track record


culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


Staying the course as the going turns harder, Horsecross has once again met or exceeded targets in a tough economic climate.

Iain Halliday, Chairman, Horsecross Arts

cover pic: Tam O’Shanter

 


introduction “Perthshire’s arts and cultural calendar has gone from strength to strength and Perth Concert Hall’s contribution cannot be underestimated. Artists, exhibitions, conferences that might have otherwise chosen to take their business to Edinburgh and Glasgow are now coming to Perth” Pete Wishart, speaking at Scottish Traditional Music Awards 09 where Perth Concert Hall was voted Venue of the Year

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


introduction

great audiences and high praise It is a pleasure to look back over a fourth fruitful year for Horsecross Arts. Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall both flourished in the face of worsening economic conditions, producing record results across all strands of our business – Culture, Community and Conferencing. With the Concert Hall barely three years old, it was a remarkable achievement to be voted Venue of the Year at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards. The hall’s classical programme also received critical acclaim, not least for a very successful second outing for our annual Schubert festival and a Pulitzer Prize for our co-commission with New York’s Carnegie Hall. Both our venues joined forces to host the latest addition to the Horsecross festival stable, Southern Fried; a packed weekend of American roots music featuring world class artists including Nanci Griffith and Allen Toussaint. Our Threshold artspace continued to grow in reputation with truly international reach during the year, presenting eight solo and group exhibitions and thirteen new artists commissions. At Perth Theatre we joined in the Homecoming celebrations and Burns’s 250th anniversary with another commission, a new adaptation of Tam O’Shanter by Gerry Mulgrew which opened in January 2009 to great audiences and high praise. But success was not only on our stages. With 150 young people in our Youth Theatre and projects such as On the Hoof, working with the travelling community and local schools to write and record songs, our community team continued to offer life enhancing opportunities to people across Perthshire. Horsecross conferencing also made a strong local impression with more large events such as the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrat and KPMG conferences all swelling delegate numbers and increasing our economic impact in Perth as well as providing a welcome subsidy for our creative work. Plans for the redevelopment of Perth Theatre continued to take shape and we were delighted to appoint the award winning Richard Murphy Architects to lead the design team this year. In facing more difficult times we have continued to make bold choices and sought above all to excite and inspire our visitors, audiences and participants. I am particularly grateful to them for responding to us with an enthusiasm which has encouraged us to face the future, confident and with a renewed determination to keep raising the bar. Jane Spiers, Chief Executive


classical music

pic: Alison Balsom with the Scottish Ensemble

“not for the first time Perth Concert Hall was the envy of all such venues in Scotland... the ability of the concert hall to bring the best goes on unabated� The Courier April ‘08

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


classical music

major artists

and young stars The year got off to a splendid start with Colin Currie’s residency at Perth Concert Hall; a stay which brought world class performance as well as inspirational community engagement through his participation in our schools Soundwaves project. The second Schubertiad, our celebration of Schubert, was presented in October 2008 with a line-up of major artists and young stars. We were pleased to welcome both a large returning audience from the 2007 event as well as a very healthy number of new recruits - encouraging news for future growth of the event. Other highlights of the year included: Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow, whose visit to the UK was coordinated by Horsecross Arts; two series of BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concerts helping build Perth Concert Hall’s reputation further afield; Scottish Opera making their first appearance in the hall in a concert of opera highlights; and the year round presence of the Scottish Orchestras and the Scottish Ensemble providing a quality backbone around which to build further projects.

pic: Alison Balsom with the Scottish Ensemble

The first two recordings to be made in the Gannochy Auditorium were released - Mozart Violin Concertos on Virgin Classics and Beethoven Piano Concertos on Linn Records. Both feature the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the concert hall was favourably commented upon in the five star reviews. The icing on the cake this year was the Pulitzer Prize for music awarded to David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion – co-commissioned with Carnegie Hall, New York. We will be bringing this beautiful piece to the Concert Hall along with its original performers for its UK premiere in 2009.

“Perth’s Schubertiad is developing into an enthralling annual event” The Herald FACTfile: cultural targets

Performances and concerts Attendances

364 134,301

Over 35% of our concert hall audiences continue to come from outside Perthshire


Contemporary, Scottish and World music “Southern Fried was far and above the best festival I’ve ever played anywhere. It kicked 100% total ass – we LOVED it!” artist Rachel Harrington on Southern Fried

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


Contemporary, Scottish and World music

programme of unique events 2008/09 saw the music programme continue to grow and take shape. Our new summer festival, Southern Fried, joined the Monday Night Thing in spring, autumn’s A National Treasure celebration, and our Hogmanay party to complete a year round programme of unique events for Perth. Southern Fried, with its evening concerts in the concert hall and the late club in the theatre, had both venues buzzing. The numbers and response of our audiences has encouraged us to make this an annual event. Particular highlights were performances from Rachel Harrington, The Wilders, Slaid Cleaves, Hot 8 Brass Band and The Hank Williams tribute show. In November, fiddler John McCusker’s Under One Sky project played to the biggest audience of their Scottish tour helping to make it the musicians’ favourite date too. December brought Perth favourites Runrig and the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra to the Concert Hall, to enthusiastic receptions, and we rounded off the year with a great Horsecross Hogmanay party with Session A9 and Orchestra Del Sol. The theatre staged two outstanding performances from a spellbinding solo from Teddy Thompson and a remarkably cohesive set from the diverse songwriters gathered together for the Burnsong tour. Our Home and Away series produced two highlight performances of the year with Tinariwen and Shooglenifty followed by pioneering folk fusion band Peatbog Faeries with the legendary Warsaw Village Band.

“Ambitious, memorable, this was raising the stakes and hitting the jackpot”

FACTfile:

Perthshire Advertiser

Highlights included Kate Rusby, Marti Pellow, Jethro Tull, Jack Jones, Tinariwen/Shooglenifty, Boy George, Eddi Reader, Dylan Moran, Under One Sky, Runrig, Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, Richard Thompson, Errol Brown, Vampires Rock, Elaine Paige, Peatbog Faeries/Warsaw Village Band, Ross Noble and the Sinatra-Basie Sessions.


 “memorably vivid, straight-forward

and heartfelt, to the end”

The Scotsman on Horsecross production, A Streetcar Named Desire

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama

pic: A Streetcar Named Desire

drama


drama

a vigorous bolt of creative energy The season got off to a great start with the visiting production of Sunset Song and our own A Streetcar Named Desire both attracting large audiences and impressing critics. Next, in a departure from pantomime, we welcomed The Snow Queen into Perth Theatre for our Christmas production. This magical tale from Stuart Paterson was heralded by the Guardian as “Possibly the finest new children’s play of the last decade.” It was great to work closely with the playwright to create a unique version for Perth which delighted audiences young and old and confirmed Perth Theatre’s Christmas show as the heart of a festive family outing in Perth. In the spring we were excited to watch our commission of a new stage adaptation of Tam O’ Shanter come to fruition under the creative guidance of Gerry Mulgrew. In Burns’ 250th anniversary year, his classic tale sprang into rude life as a talented company and creative team re-awakened the bawdy vitality and musical cadences of the bards great verse. Audiences packed the theatre as word spread, and reviews marked it out as one of the unmissable pieces of the Scottish theatre year. The Guardian remarked it was “A vigorous bolt of creative energy”. We rounded off our subscription season by welcoming back two great comic actors, Steven McNicoll and Andy Gray. They elevated the quick change to an artform, playing dozens of improbable characters in the fast-paced murder mystery pastiche The Mystery of Irma Vep which saw us co-producing with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre.

pic: A Streetcar Named Desire

Beyond our own subscription season, the year was peppered with several sell-out visiting shows and another successful visit from the National Theatre of Scotland with Be Near Me, helping us to exceed audience targets and round off a busy and successful dramatic year.

“Zestful inventiveness and moving simplicity, worthy of the hour” The Times on Horsecross commission, Tam O’Shanter

FACTfile: cultural targets

Fact file in 07/08 we staged 170 drama performances attracting an audience of 54,369


culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama

Game Flags (2009) by Vuk Cosic (Slovenia). Horsecross Arts first commission of contemporary art for the city centre. Acquired for the Horsecross Arts collection of contemporary art at Threshold artspace.

contemporary art

“expect an explosion of new multi-channel video installations� The Scotsman


Game Flags (2009) by Vuk Cosic (Slovenia). Horsecross Arts first commission of contemporary art for the city centre. Acquired for the Horsecross Arts collection of contemporary art at Threshold artspace.

contemporary art

a powerhouse of digital art in Scotland Threshold has grown into a powerhouse of digital art in Scotland as we approach 100 commissioned works from artists across the globe in our collection. Once again we were able to increase our number of commissions with thirteen new works from artists from countries. In a new venture into publishing we created the first five issues of Read More, our online journal of contemporary art, with another 12 issues commissioned from renowned international contributors. As our digital art collection continues to grow it is supported by this growing library of investigative essays – looking behind the works to their inspiration and meanings and offering insight, each written by international experts and all accessible by audiences engaging in our collections from across the world. Supporting this wider audience, the Threshold artspace website grew as a live archive of all works, with shows and events permanently available and we registered a dedicated Threshold artspace YouTube Channel. Our new weekend preview brunches also proved a hit with audiences and brought new people into conversation with artists and guest curators. Both parties enjoyed the chat (and the bacon rolls) so a new Horsecross tradition is born. In 2008/9 we staged eight exhibitions: Primary Ingredients + Here and There (off-site on tour) + Intermission + Behind the Stage. Between the Scenes + Voyage of No Return + Acres Wild + Us But Not Only Us + Life is a Story: The Scottish Episode and added 13 new commissions and acquisitions to the collection: Cantus | Alec Finlay 22 Letters | Clive Gillman King Kong ASCII | Vuk Cosic How to Read Between the Lines, or Method for Self-Education | Valentin Stefanoff The Return of the Beast 1933-2005 | Krassimir Terziev Voyage of No Return | Ergin Cavusoglu Empire (After Warhol) | Ergin Cavusoglu Fog Walking | Ergin Cavusoglu Midnight Express | Ergin Cavusoglu Changeover | Jonnie Justice X24 | Jason Dee Acres Wild Triptych | Marek Styczen Life is a Story: The Scottish Episode | Izabella Gustowska The national press continues its interest in our programme and a major feature on Rob Kennedy was published in the summer 2008 issue of MAP – the international visual arts magazine of Scotland.


community + outreach “Please could you come again and make another song with us. My dad had a tear in his eye. I never wanted it to end�

Soundwaves participant

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


communtiy + outreach

learning how the magic happens Our community team continued to develop strong programmes and collaborations across Perth, taking arts and creativity to young and old. From some of Perthshire’s hardest to reach communities to schools and drop in sessions in our venues, all comers had the chance to have a go. In April the Soundwaves school programme culminated in the Bang Bop Bash concert as percussionist Colin Currie rounded off his Horsecross residency on stage with Tom Bancroft and over 140 pupils and teachers from North Perth schools. Out of Soundwaves came the exciting spin off project On The Hoof. This brought together traveller children in North Perth and children in Primary 3, 4 and 5 in the Carse of Gowrie for a songwriting and storytelling project. On the Hoof culminated in a recorded CD and sing-a-long concert in March 2009 with all 253 children involved. This year also saw the start of a new collaboration with Drake Music Scotland to provide music and drama opportunities for people in Perthshire with learning and physical disabilities. Documented on film, 120 participants engaged across 24 workshops through Record numbers attended Horsecross Voices as this drop in community singing project went from strength to strength as the year progressed from Culture Club to Carmina Burana. Additional Sing Sessions were developed in partnership with NHS Tayside and Perth Association of Mental Health, supporting new members with mental health issues to get involved. On the back of this success, we launched a sister project, Horsecross Players, so Perthshire’s ‘have a go Hamlets’ can learn how the magic happens and conjure up some dramatic creativity of their own. Developing a legacy from last year’s Artfull drama project, Horsecross Arts collaborated with NHS Tayside and Perth and Kinross Council again this year to deliver the Mental Wellbeing project Trouble In Paradise: a 16 week devising and scriptwriting project for participants with learning disabilities. Two performances were seen by over 130 people and for many participants this project gave them the confidence to go on to attend Horsecross Players.

“This project genuinely helped every child regardless of any previous musical experiences” Class Teacher – Our Lady’s Primary School on Soundwaves


perth youth theatre “Thrilling, invigorating, exciting - one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life”

pic: Perth Youth Theatre’s Magico:Resa

Perth Youth Theatre participant

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


perth youth theatre

challenging and powerful play In 2008/09 Perth Youth Theatre had 150 members aged from 12 – 25 years. Highlights of the year included: Perth Youth Theatre Festival June 2008 Our first festival showcasing the work of all PYT groups throughout the month. Audience numbers exceeded 1100 over the course of the performances. We staged four main stage productions, two studio theatre performances and also showcased the work of our young playwrights group. Highlights of the PYT year included: Love A new commission written by Isabel Wright based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Developed through a series of workshops with the cast and written by Isabel this was a challenging and powerful new play especially for young people. Playwrights showcase Creative Director Ian Grieve directed a group of professional actors in a rehearsed reading of the young playwrights’ work. This was an inspirational evening and the playwrights have gone from strength to strength - two of them wrote material for PYT Seniors main stage show in June.

pic: Perth Youth Theatre’s Magico:Resa

Birds and Bees Street Theatre Project Commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage, 16 PYT members devised a piece of street theatre raising awareness of endangered species which was performed over two busy Saturdays on the high street in Perth. The project was highlighted in the 2008 list of Top 10 Biodiversity events and showcased by Scottish Natural Heritage as an example of best practice. Trainee Youth Theatre Director Scheme Our unique training scheme for up and coming youth theatre practitioners was highlighted in a feature interview on the website of PromoteYT (Scotland) (the national network agency for youth theatre in Scotland). We continue to run this successful scheme, offering opportunities for young people to enter the field of youth theatre as experienced professionals. “I came to the Youth Theatre knowing this was an area in which I wanted to be involved and ready to learn. I left feeling like a fully qualified facilitator ready to tackle any age group and know the best means in which to help them learn. I was involved in projects both in and out of the theatre and the experience I gained was beyond anything I could have hoped for.” Jenny Chalmers Trainee 07-08


conferences “Perth Concert Hall certainly is a jewel in the crown of Perthshire.� Alex Salmond, First Minister October 2008

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


conferences

another record breaking year In 4 years Perth Concert Hall has established itself as an exceptional venue for conferences with a reputation for excellent flexible facilities, professional helpful staff and fabulous catering and technical support. Our feedback on all counts has once again been well over 95% ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ which explains why so many organisations who bring a conference or event to Perth come back for more. Some, such as Caring for Kids, are pledging to make us their regular venue. Approximately 60% of our conferences are from repeat customers, many of whom brought their third annual events to Perth this year, such as the Royal British Legion and the British Association of Social Workers. Of course as our reputation grows in the industry we can also attract new business. Big new clients choosing Perth this year included UCATT, the trade union for the construction industry, the Scottish National Party, KPMG and the Liberal Democrats. Their visits and many others like them, contributed to another record year for Horsecross conferencing, and made a huge impact on the local economy with transport, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops all benefitting. The flexibility of the building proves ever more successful: we held even more award ceremonies, exhibitions, dinner dances and functions this year, confirming that there is little we cannot accommodate. Aside the high school prizegivings and college graduation, we also hosted the UK Skills awards, Vector Aerospace Apprentice, Best Bar None and the Spirit of Youth Awards. We are confident that our established reputation will help us as we move into lean times ahead. The forecast into 2009/2010 is looking good, we are already looking forward to the Scottish Trade Union Congress, the Scottish Conservative Party, the British Legion, the Educational Institution of Scotland and the Difficult Airways Society all bringing delegates to stay in Perth.

FACTfile:

Conference days (auditorium) Conference Delegates Meetings Meeting Delegates Total delegates Financial

projected

actual

53 59 13125 18997 137 127 8190 4272 21315 23269 £162,000 £178,959


perth theatre redevelopment

pic: Perth Theatre Development Ambassador Ewan McGregor with members of Perth Youth Theatre

“a transformational project to breathe new life into Perth Theatre and secure its future for generations to come� Ewan McGregor

culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


perth theatre redevelopment

pic: Perth Theatre Development Ambassador Ewan McGregor with members of Perth Youth Theatre

securing Perth’s future In our glorious Edwardian auditorium we have the foundations of a world class environment for creativity where classic stories can be told in an electrically intimate atmosphere. Our success, our burgeoning youth and community programmes, and the expectations of new audiences have made it clear that we need to build on these foundations. This year we set about that task in earnest. 2008/9 brought our dreams of a Perth Theatre fit for the 21st century a big step closer to reality. After a rigorous selection process, we chose a design team to take us on our journey. The team will be led by the acclaimed Richard Murphy Architects who were delighted to be selected to develop the next act in the story of Perth Theatre. Winners of an unprecedented 17 Royal Institute of British Architects Awards, they have considerable experience in the Arts including award winning work for the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, The Tolbooth in Stirling and DCA in Dundee. Early design ideas suggest they are going to deliver something very special for us here in Perth too. Their design challenge is to completely refurbish our historic Edwardian auditorium and then complement it with accessible foyers, a new studio and new facilities for bars and catering, a new rehearsal room and two new spaces for our extensive community work. As plans are drawn up, we have been working hard in the background to raise the money necessary for the construction phase. Many of our audiences tell us how much more they enjoy drama and music in our intimate and ornate historic theatre so we were especially excited to get through to the final stages in our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for support in restoring Perth Theatre’s auditorium. In the face of strong competition, the HLF told us how impressed they were by the liveliness contained year round inside this great piece of history. Already on board is local superstar Ewan McGregor who has joined us as an enthusiastic supporter of our ambitions. He caught the drama bug at Perth Theatre in his youth and came back from his home in Los Angeles to discuss the plans with staff and meet current members of the youth theatre. Next year will be crucial as we increase our efforts to build support and raise funds to secure a world class development for Perth and Scotland.


about us

from strength to strength Horsecross Arts Ltd was formed in April 2006 to run Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall, delivering a diverse programme of culture, conferencing and community engagement through a passionately committed staff team working across the two venues. Since its foundation, Horsecross Arts Ltd has exceeded targets and balanced budgets in every year of its operation and won awards across all areas of activity. For this success we thank our staff and all our audiences and conference customers. This year we would also like to thank The Gannochy Trust, Scottish Arts Council, Perth & Kinross Council, Event Scotland and Homecoming Scotland 2009 for additional funding which has helped us to deliver another award winning year of activity.

Awards and commendations 2008/09 Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards Perth Civic Trust VisitScotland - Scottish Thistle Awards National Business Awards Pulitzer Prize Visit Scotland Quality Assurance

President’s Award – winner Venue of the Year – winner Biennial Award for New Building – winner People Development – finalist Marketing Strategy of the Year – finalist to David Lang for our co-commission with Carnegie Hall, New York both venues awarded ‘excellent’  grades

Feedback

We positively encourage feedback from our customers and keep an eye out for the local and national press to see how we’re being received. We carry out surveys of audiences and monitor comments and complaints. Very positive feedback also comes in the form of national awards, organised by a whole range of industry sectors and national agencies. We’re delighted to have attracted a number of awards for our efforts to date.


about us

“Perth’s concert hall is a gem. The acoustics are wonderful, the audiences are warm, the staff are friendly and professional - and you can almost fish the River Tay from the dressing rooms. It’s a wonderful addition to Scotland’s cultural life” Jim Malcolm, musician culture + conferences + community + music + contemporary art + drama


The Horsecross Way Business culture + conferences + community Mission

to create a buzz – in our venues, Perthshire and Scotland

Vision

to keep raising the bar to inspire entertain and delight to help Perth prosper

Annual Review 2008/09  

Horsecross Arts Annual Review for 2008-2009