The Arts Guild Theatre is located in Greenock, Scotland. The idea for the theatre was conceived by a group of local drama enthusiasts in 1946. The building contains two theatres, the Wallace Bennett Theatre and the Main Auditorium, and was previously a disused Victorian swimming pool. The Guild is now half receiving house and half producing house featuring performers including Dorothy Paul, Scottish Opera, Dean Park, Frank Pilkington and other acts such as Frankie Boyle and Amy Macdonald.
- New Theatre - The Beacon Arts Centre
- External links
The theatre is situated on Campbell Street in Greenock, Inverclyde and is close to Greenock town centre.
The need for the Arts Guild Theatre was originally thought of by a group of local drama enthusiasts in 1946. This was due to the lack of proper facilities in which cultural and theatrical activities could take place in the Inverclyde area and the group bought the "Old West End Baths" for 1000. The Wallace Bennett theatre was the first of the two theatres located on the first floor of the building and was named after a local amateur actor of the same name, who died in the recent war. (World War II)
The construction of the bottom floor theatre (now named the Main Auditorium) was estimated in 1947 to cost within the region of 18,000.The Scottish Arts Council at the time where impressed with the enthusiasm of the group and proposed to lend 9,000 to aid with its construction.
The Wallace Bennett Theatre was opened to public performances in 1949 and allowed the Arts Guild to gather a local reputation to help it cover the cost of building the Main Auditorium. Construction of the theatre finished in 1951, making it the first theatre to be built within Scotland in 25 years.
Refurbishment of this building was financed by a fund-raising campaign in 2006 as part of a deal with Scottish Arts Council, the deal was if they could raise 2.7 million then they would match the earnings.
New Theatre - The Beacon Arts Centre
As of 2010 a new Art's Guild Theatre is being built on the East India Harbour on the waterfront of Greenock. It is planned to contain 500-seat main auditorium, 130-capacity studio theatre, plus rehearsal rooms and a riverside caf /bar. The project is jointly funded by Greenock Arts Guild, Creative Scotland, Inverclyde Council, Riverside Inverclyde and the Big Lottery Fund. The initiation of construction was attended by First Minister, Alex Salmond and actress Dorothy Paul. There was also a period of time in which the local public could suggest new names for the building.
The new name was announced as The Beacon Arts Centre on the 25 November 2010 by the patron of Greenock Arts Guild, HRH The Earl of Wessex (of the British Royal Family) and the theatre is due for completion in 2012. The reason the name was chosen was due to the location of the new theatre having an association with a Georgian lamp which sits in front of the Customhouse located near the building site. Originally known as 'The Beacon' it was used as a guiding light for ships mooring at the quayside. Patron, The Earl of Wessex, visited the site of the construction in November 2010 unveiling a commemorative artwork by glass artist Alec Galloway. HRH became patron of Greenock Arts Guild in 2009 but has been involved in theatre throughout his life. In the 1980s he worked as part of two theatrical production companies, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company, working on shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express and Cats (musical). An estimated cost of completion is 9.3 million.
- Book - James L. Dow- Greenock - ISBN 0-904834-00-X