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Horsecross 05:06 a horse of a different colour

“Greetings Perthlings� The Sun

fasten your seat belts

pic: Perth Concert Hall launch

Iain Halliday, Chairman, Horsecross at the launch of Perth Concert Hall, Sep 05

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama


pic: Jane Spiers, Chief Exec (front right) with creative team. Back l to r: Ian Grieve, Andy Shearer, Jennie McGregor. Front l to r: Svend Brown, Graham McLaren, Iliyana Nedkova.

introduction “…bang in the middle of Scotland’s cultural operation, delivering a very healthy dunt to the notorious dominance of the Central Belt axis”

delivering very a

The Herald

healthy dunt...

It feels like an historic moment – and something of a privilege – to be putting pen to paper to capture the year when Horsecross Arts Ltd evolved out of Perth Repertory Theatre; the proud parent of newborn Perth Concert Hall, a sister for the much-loved Perth Theatre. Horsecross aims to honour the lively past of its namesake, the site of the concert hall and well-kent locally with long associations as the buzzing heart of Perth.

FACTfile: our business culture

music, drama, new media comedy, dance, film, musicals conferences meetings, seminars, events, workshops, dinners, conferences community youth theatre, music, drama workshops, performances, children and families

The concert hall was a lofty Millennium dream that the local authority got behind and transformed into a reality. The theatre seemed the natural host to bring it on stream, ready for launch in September 2005. Perth Theatre had to make a step change. With the support of the Board of Perth Theatre, I took up the challenge to bring vision and drive to the project and find the right team to deliver. New board members, a creative team and marketing and conferencing specialists joined us. We like to think we have created a horse of a different colour; something a bit special. And to give the organisation and its venues hallmarks of distinction, top Scottish design agency, Graven Images, created our brands. Our aims for the 2005-6 season were to successfully launch the new concert hall on a national platform with a stunning music programme and to continue to develop the reputation of Perth Theatre as a vibrant regional theatre with a mix of home productions, co-productions and visiting companies. Early in the year it was obvious it would be an auspicious one when HM Queen Elizabeth visited for an elegant lunch to mark the impending launch of the concert hall. During the season we were delighted to receive Foundation Funding status from the Scottish Arts Council, one of only a few Scottish theatres to be recognised in this way. This gives us their secure funding for at least three years ahead. And throughout the year Horsecross, Perth Theatre and Perth Concert Hall all received significant awards (see back page).

Our ambitions for the future include: We want to be seen as a development agency and resource base for the arts in Scotland. We feel we have the facilities, the drive and the creative team to deliver this. As a new entrepreneurial, cultural enterprise in Scotland we intend to continue to create a sustainable and high quality programme of work in drama, music and new media art at the current level of ambition and imagination. In planning for next year – our first full year – this will involve developing our role as a key mid-large scale music promoter, creating a quality drama programme with a distinctive character, extending our digital art collection, building audiences, and programming a broad and diverse range of high quality events for children, families and the wider community. We want to make an impact regionally, nationally and internationally and if our first 6 months are anything to go by,

we’ll make it.

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

Jane Spiers Chief Executive



heaven is a place in Perth...

“Word has spread rapidly to agents and other key figures in the business that the Perth hall and its facilities are very fine indeed” The Herald

FACTfile: launch weekends Fri 15 Sep:

pic: Perth Concert Hall launch Sep 05

Royal Scottish National Orchestra featuring Craig Armstrong commission with stunning backdrop from visual artists Dalziel + Scullion. Sat 16 Sep: percussion guru, Trilok Gurtu with an ensemble of the cream of Perthshire’s traditional musicians heralded Home+Away strand of worldtraditional combos. Sun 17 Sep: cool grooves from Belle & Sebastian.

“Heaven is a place in Perth”

The formal launch of Perth Concert Hall was devised as a weekend of signature events giving a flavour of things to come and set the tone for a critically acclaimed, busy season. Lunchtime concerts relocated from the 120 capacity studio to the main auditorium. The national orchestras’ concert series attracted scores more people than ever for Perth. Concerts attracted good audiences from far and wide – around a third coming from outwith Perthshire. Highlights included: classical

The Scottish Orchestras with a unique programme of Beethoven Piano Concertos and Beethoven specialist, Sir Charles Mackerras in his 80th year; Mozart Journeys: three concerts from the Belcea Quartet in a year long residency; lunchtime concert series featuring international award winners and BBC New Generation Artists; Sir Willard White; Mozart + Burns Day; Bach’s St John Passion; Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Philharmonia Orchestra; Stockhausen’s cult piece of electronica, Stimmung; Schubert’s Winterreise on only Scottish date before the Wigmore Hall and the USA.


3 Home + Away concerts: Blazin’ Fiddles + Michael Cleveland; Capercaille + Salsa Celtica; Peatbog Faeries + Dhol Foundation; Average White Band, Blind Boys of Alabama, Nils Lofgren, Richard Thompson, Goldfrapp, Runrig, Bob Geldof, Voulez Vous, Zutons, Kings of Swing, BBC Big Band, Proclaimers, Barbara Dickson, Dougie MacLean; comedy from Fred MacAulay, Harry Hill, Dylan Moran and Al Murray. Svend Brown + Andy Shearer Directors, Music

“A stellar opening” The Herald

FACTfile: audiences

32% of classical audiences from outwith Perthshire 55,000 attendances for half year Sep 05-Mar 06 Exceeded audience target by 25% 1st lunchtime concert audience: 80. Last one: 400!

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama


drama “I was proud of the show and proud of Perth Theatre being brave enough to put on such a complicated play... I started my career at Perth Rep in 1987 so it was nice to come back and do something I really cared about.” Liam Brennan, 2006 winner Best Actor, Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Perth Theatre’s Tales from Hollywood

beautifully controlled... Our theatre season launched directly after the concert hall opened; the first season for us as co-directors. Early analysis shows that there is a healthy cross-over between audiences for theatre and concert hall shows and we hope to prove that two programmes of activity merely encourage our audiences to go out more often, rather than force them to make difficult choices.

Award winning theatre

pic: Liam Brennan and Sarah Lawrie, Tales from Hollywood

Best Actor, 2006 Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland: Liam Brennan For Perth Theatre’s Tales from Hollywood

The backbone of the season continued to be the subscription series with 7 productions – a mix of self-produced, co-produced and visiting work. We opened with the Joe Orton comedy Loot in a co-production with The Byre and followed with Theatre Babel’s production of Macbeth, providing opportunity for schools attendances. We were delighted to present Half Life by John Mighton in an international co-production with the award winning Canadian company Necessary Angel and the Tron Theatre, Glasgow. In the Autumn, Graham directed John Clifford’s adaptation of Charles Dicken’s Great Expections; a visual feast that was hailed by The Times as one of the top 3 plays of the year in the UK. For our annual pantomime Ian directed Sleeping Beauty. This proved to be a big hit with audiences and was a great vehicle for co-writer and actor Jimmy Chisholm’s comedic skills. In the Spring, Communicado theatre brought Vaclav Havel’s, The Memorandum. Perth’s next production was Christopher Hampton’s Tales from Hollywood, winning accolades for director Ian Grieve and the coveted Best Actor title for Liam Brennan. Graham was back in the reins for the final production of the season with Racine’s classic Phedre, adapted by Ted Hughes. Following its run at Perth this transferred to the Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow and Warwick Arts Centre. Plans for next year will retain this outline structure, recognising that change will be necessary longer term to help broaden audiences. We are aiming for fewer productions with higher impact – bigger cast sizes, high production values, longer rehearsal time and quality productions of work that would otherwise go unseen. We are developing our role and profile nationally and look forward to working in partnership with the new National Theatre of Scotland. Ian Grieve and Graham McLaren Directors, Theatre

“One of the top 3 plays of the year in the UK”

The Times on Perth Theatre’s Great Expectations

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

new media art “Avant-turntable heaven” Sonic Arts Network on Janek Schaefer

new media art



Horsecross determined from the start to be diverse. And it was this determination that led to us setting up Threshold artspace – Scotland’s only dedicated space for the production, exhibition and collection of a new generation of public art using creative technologies – from artists’ films, photography, visual poetry, light spectacles and sound art to interactive environments. So we raised half a million pounds, put amazing technology into the building and invented Threshold. It’s on a par with only a handful of similar venues in Europe.

“bold remit

programming stunning and inspiring


Scotland on Sunday

We launched Threshold on 14 September 05, midweek between our community and our official launch weekends. We did it in style with a sound performance from the legendary sound artist, inventor and architect, Janek Schaefer. He performed his specially commissioned soundpiece A Concert of Concerts and premiered Covers, an artwork on Threshold Wave, our unique bank of 22 screens. In the year leading up to launch, we have been pioneering the development of Threshold working with leading Scottish company, 55 Degrees. The system uses embedded projections, multiple screens, sound and light displays, sensors and cameras and uses a unique computer control system built by using open source software so that other artists and exhibitors worldwide can play with us, with almost limitless creative possibilities. In the 6 months from launch, the new media art programme has welcomed our very own international correspondent Dan Perjovschi; world class artists such as Dalziel and Scullion, Susan Collins, Richard Brown and Janek Schaefer, and emerging Scottish artists Joanna Kane, Greg Miller, Michael Windle, Steven Hendry and Susan Doak.

pic: Janek Schaefer

The artists we have worked with are redefining the classic genres of landscape painting or sculpture using pixels or light; employing surveillance technologies for more creative uses; taking documentary film-making, DJ-ing and VJ-ing to more adventurous heights; soundscaping what we see; and alerting us to the impact of our own movement in the building. We will continue to seek funding to curate and host a year round programme of digital art at Threshold, create a portfolio of interpretive material, encourage wide critical debate around new adventures in public art and host live sound art performances. Iliyana Nedkova Director, New Media

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

community + outreach

community + outreach


achievement Local people are the lifeblood of any venue, so we gave them the first peek at our beautiful new concert hall. On 10 and 11 September, a week before the formal launch, we threw open the doors and greeted 16,000 people at Come Away In, a fun-packed weekend that showcased the quality and breadth of our community programme; the culmination of 6 months of workshops in preparation.

pic: Perth Youth Theatre

“a happy memory, a celebration of people, creativity, warmth and life...” customer, come away in

The community team works on the basis that if you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you. We take video artists and DJs onto the streets to work with young people, take musicians to work with housebound older folk, deliver drama in rural areas, work with single-teacher schools and a range of arts and disability organisations. Our youth theatre is thriving, our community choir is growing, our musical minors flourishing and our community theatre group is now putting on public performances. There’s lots of choice for young people. Perth Youth Theatre goes from strength to strength; one of the busiest in Scotland. Its members age from 12-21 and learn theatre skills from acting and voice to directing and stage fighting. They had the chance to perform at five productions over the course of the year. We have introduced a very popular small scale family strand at weekends with authors like Julia Donaldson, Mairi Hedderwick, TePooka jugglers, Scottish Youth Dance and Sonsie Music. And we offer workshops for primary and secondary schools linked to the shows in our theatre season and offer staff development days for teachers and community workers. As we plan for our first full year, our community activity will focus on the role of the arts in community regeneration, working with vulnerable young people and adults, exploring creativity and social and personal development. In particular, we will continue to develop our work in the areas of arts and disability, mental health and wellbeing, children and young people. We want to provide a learning resource and a social space for our local communities, young and old. Joelle Fenna, Music Development Coordinator Suzi Morrice, Drama Development Coordinator Jennie McGregor, Associate Director, Perth Youth Theatre

“What a marvellous performance.”

“An amazing opportunity”

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

FACTfile: community + outreach attendances PYT audience member PYT Trainee Director

activity Birthday Bash Family Perth Youth Theatre Community Schools drama workshops Total

target 3,000 1,000 5,400 1,965 635 12,000

actual 4,000 1,171 5,400 4,431 176 15,178

conferencing and events

conferencing and events “Staff catered to our every need. I just can’t heap enough praise.”

Red Bull/Tesco Regional Meeting

I just can’t heap enough praise In our first week of business as a conferencing venue, we welcomed an international conference on global change and didn’t stop for the rest of the year. If there’s a day when we’ve no concerts or cultural events, then we’ll probably be hosting a conference. We can accommodate conferences, product launches, dinners, meetings, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions and in our first 6 months we managed a fair spread of those.

90% of Scotland’s

Part of our popularity is undoubtedly our location, right at the heart of Scotland. Beautiful rural Perthshire offers the ideal get-away destination to mix business with pleasure. The other attraction is our venue. The sparkly new Perth Concert Hall offers some of the very best facilities in Scotland. Our modern glass fronted building, unique ‘smart’ design and technology offers a range of spaces to suit all sizes of events. At the heart of building is a state of the art, flexible auditorium. A variety of additional rooms provide space for smaller meetings and events. The light, airy glass foyer is big enough for registration facilities, buffets and receptions, information points, displays or exhibitions and has free wifi.

live within a

90 minute drive

So it’s no surprise that we’ve attracted national conferences for government agencies, professional associations and the private sector and transformed into a TV studio for BBC’s roving Question Time. Other business in the first 6 months included:

FACTfile: events Sep 05-Mar 06 conferences, dinners and exhibitions business seminars and meetings

“The venue was fantastic and the staff very friendly. We’ll be back.” British Association of Social Workers

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

32 105

• International Global Change Conference • Dyslexia Scotland • Rotarians Convention • Scottish Arts Council conference • RIAS Annual Conference • Scottish Arts Marketing Forum • Association of Municipal Engineers • Perth Royal Infirmary • British Geriatric Society • Scottish Executive Justice Forum • Tesco • Scottish Conservative Party Conference In contrast to the contemporary spaces in the concert hall, Perth Theatre offers the charming, traditional and character-filled Edwardian auditorium as well as a working studio theatre; a unique complementary package. Michaela Ruff Conference and Events Manager

a little bit of history

a little bit of history

carriers on

“From here the carriers on horseback set off, and the Highland ponies were bought and sold in open sales” 17th century ordinance transferring the horsemarket from the Mercat Cross in the High Street to the Horse Cross

horseback set off...

Before work began on the new Perth Concert Hall, an archaeological dig was carried out. The dig uncovered evidence of a medieval castle, first documented in the 12th century but destroyed by flood in 1209. Other finds included an arched stone bridge, metal objects, leather, wood, pottery, stone and bones, clay-lined tanning pits and stone-lined wells. A series of burials identified a chapel dedicated to St Laurence. This was first mentioned in 1328, and was given to the Dominican friars in 1405. Until the dig, no archaeological evidence of the castle or chapel had existed. The dig was carried out by SUAT Limited and funded by Perth & Kinross Council.

FACTfile: concert hall site down the centuries

pic: home of the new Perth Concert Hall courtesy of Perth & Kinross Council

12th century 13th century 14th century 17th century 18th century 19th-20th century

castle Dominican friary industrial suburb horse market tanning activity Pullars dye works

VIPs who attended our launch weekend were gifted a souvenir goody bag including a tagged remnant of copper from the distinctive turquoise roof and a print by illustrator Owain Kirby capturing the history of the site.

Perth Theatre

The origins of theatre in Perth can be traced back to the 16th century. More recently, Hollywood stars Ewan McGregor and Donald Sutherland learned their craft here. Stuart Cosgrove, Director of Nations and Regions for Channel 4 discovered a passion for the theatre as a member of our Youth Theatre. And great Scots tread the boards here: Una McLean, Russell Hunter, Lesley Mackie, Colin McCreadie, Edith McArthur, Elaine C Smith, Andy Gray, Jimmy Chisholm. When our High Street theatre opened, it was an 800 seat auditorium. After a few revamps, losing ‘the gods’ (third tier seats) and creating more space between seats (people are bigger!) we now have around 460 seats. During the 2001 upgrade, a pillar was removed and a time capsule uncovered! It had been buried in the foundations in 1899. The capsule was reburied with current newspapers and programme brochures for 2001. The most recent upgrade in early 2005 created the elegant Redrooms café bar. We are now cooking up plans for a refurbishment of the auditorium and maybe something more major.

FACTfile: Perth Theatre down the centuries 16th century 1900 1924 1935 1939 1941 1966 1967 1968 1979 1980 1987 1990 2001 culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

first records of theatre in Perth High Street theatre opens fire closes theatre for 5 months Scotland’s 1st rep starts in Perth 1st Scottish Theatre Festival held here first ever Scottish Tour (with £200 grant) Scottish Arts Council inherits theatre Iain Cuthbertson become director Council buys theatre; Joan Knight reigns upgrade workshop, restaurant and bar upgrade dressing rooms, wardrobe, studio Ewan McGregor works here restaurant extended box office upgraded, access improved

about us

about us

need for a step change

At its AGM in December 2005, the members of Perth Repertory Theatre Limited agreed to convert to a limited company. By April 2006 this was formally constituted as Horsecross Arts Limited. The transformation marked the need for a step change for the organisation from running a regional rep to running a multi-million pound business over two sites, with thousands of paying customers and national and international conferencing business.


British Construction Industry Awards Regeneration Award

Horsecross is managed by a Board that meets quarterly. The Board is made up of a Chair, Vice-Chair up to 12 members along with 3 councillors from Perth & Kinross Council. The Board appoints the Chief Executive to run day to day operations with responsibility for business planning and programming. Around a third of our funding comes from the Scottish Arts Council and Perth & Kinross Council. We aim to create half our budget from earned income – ticket sales and venue hire. The balance comes from sponsors, trusts and other fundraising activity. In our launch year, we were particularly grateful for the support of local benefactors The Gannochy Trust and nationwide insurance giants, Norwich Union. Huge thanks to all our supporters for the year: Perth & Kinross Council • Perth & Kinross Leisure • Scottish Enterprise Tayside • Scottish Arts Council • The Gannochy Trust • Norwich Union Insurance • Arts and Business • Scottish & Southern Energy • Event Scotland • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation • The Cross Trust

Tayside Business Awards

Business in the Community

Dynamic Places Award

Best Built Environment (commended)

Dundee Institute of Architects

Best Commercial Building

Arts & Business

Chair of the Year (shortlisted)

British Construction Industry Awards

Regeneration Award

Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland

Best Male Performance (Liam Brennan) Tales from Hollywood Best Director, Best Ensemble (nominations)

Institute of Directors, Scotland

Director of the Year finalist for our CEO

culture + conferences + community + music + new media + drama

HORSECROSS VENUES Perth Concert Hall 1200 seat state of the art auditorium Norie-Miller Studio Threshold artspace Threshold bar restaurant

Perth Theatre 476 seat Edwardian auditorium Perth Studio Theatre Redrooms cafĂŠ bar restaurant


music drama new media art


Perth Youth Theatre music development programme education + outreach

conferences banquets exhibitions ceremonies

Perth Concert Hall Mill Street Perth PH1 5HZ Perth Theatre 185 High Street Perth PH1 5UW

0845 612 6320

Annual Review 2005/06  

Annual Review

Annual Review 2005/06  

Annual Review