Perth Theatre

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Perth Theatre
Perth Theatre - - 920542.jpg
Entrance to Perth Theatre
Address 2017/18 Entrance
Mill Street PH1 5HZ
Traditional Entrance
185 High Street
Perth, Scotland
Owner Horsecross Arts Limited
Designation category B listed
Type Theatre
Capacity 460 (Edwardian Auditorium)
Opened 1901
Years active 1901-1991 (Extension Built)
2014-2017 (Closed for major refurbishment)
2017/18 (Reopen)

Perth Theatre is a Victorian theatre and opera house situated at 185 High Street, Perth, Scotland. It was opened in 1901 and extended in 1981.[1]

The building is category B listed by Historic Scotland[2] and run by Horsecross Arts Limited who also run nearby sister venue Perth Concert Hall (Scotland).

On 4 January 2014 the theatre closed to undergo renovations and expansions. Among the plans for the theatre are new seats, another smaller theatre, and a new entrance. The original auditorium will also be restored to its original condition. The theatre is expected to open again in 2017.

In March 2016, Lu Kemp was appointed Artistic Director.[3]


Perth Theatre is one of Scotland’s oldest and best-loved producing theatres with a rich artistic history. The theatre as it stands today opened on Perth High Street in 1900 and at the time it boasted an 800-seat auditorium. The foundation stone of the B-listed building was laid in 1899 by George Alexander, famous for his work with Oscar Wilde and when it opened the following year the interior was described as "one of the finest in Scotland." In 1935 Perth Theatre was bought by Marjorie Dence and Donald Steuart. The new owners set up Perth Repertory Company – continuing the work of the pioneering Repertory Company founded by J.H.Savile and family,[4] the proprietors from 1901 to 1935 – and kick-started a prolific period for the theatre, staging over 140 plays in the following three years. Perth went on to host the first Scottish Theatre Festival in 1939 and was the first company to tour the Scottish Highlands in the 1940s.

Joan Knight was appointed as Artistic Director in 1968. During her 26 year tenure at Perth Theatre, Joan oversaw a major rebuilding programme in 1981 and 1985, adding a restaurant, rehearsal room, dressing rooms and workshop facility.


Historic B-listed, Edwardian Auditorium will be restored to its former glory. The upper circle will be reinstated and an orchestra area will be introduced. The theatre will also benefit from improvements to seating, sightlines, circulation, ventilation, lighting and new equipment.

Studio Theatre A new 200-seat capacity, courtyard-style studio theatre will be built to meet the demand for staging small to mid-scale performances.

Creative Learning An extension will provide a number of spaces for creative learning activities and a home for Perth Youth Theatre.

Access For the first time there will be level access to Perth Theatre's foyer, Box Office, auditorium, creative learning spaces and café, bar and restaurant from a new Mill Street entrance. There will also be a lift to allow ease of access to all other levels. The High Street entrance, complete with iconic arch, will be retained ensuring Perth Theatre's presence on the busy shopping street remains and offering shoppers a direct route into the building.

Richard Murphy Architects, UK were appointed architects for the project in 2008.[5]

Demolition of the theatre's 1980s extension began on 19 April 2016.[6]

Notable figures[edit]

Throughout its history, a number of star acts performed at Perth Theatre, including a young Alec Guinness, Walter Carr (actor), Edward Woodward, Una McLean and Donald Sutherland. More recently Crieff’s own Ewan McGregor began his acting career at the theatre - McGregor is also Project Ambassador of Transform Perth Theatre.

Perth Youth Theatre[edit]

Established in 1966 by Brian Howard and Catherine Robins Perth Youth Theatre was the first theatre-based youth theatre group in Scotland. Perth Youth Theatre has trained young people in acting and stage craft for 50 years. Perth Youth Theatre Alumni included Rhod Sharp, Stuart Cosgrove, Ewan McGregor, Colin McCredie and Sally Reid

"What happened to us there - boys and girls - was profound, and often profoundly funny. In the children's show, the name of which I cannot remember, I played my first custard pie scene with Stuart Cosgrove. It used a lot shaving foam and Stuart usually came off better. We didn't know who we would become, but few of us had doubts that we would become something." Rhod Sharp, 2015


  1. ^ "Perth Theatre". Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  2. ^ "Perth Theatre, listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  3. ^ "Lu Kemp announced as artistic director for transformed Perth Theatre". Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  4. ^ The Stage Year Book of 1916
  5. ^ "Perth Theatre, Scotland - Building - e-architect". e-architect. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Milestone work begins at Perth Theatre - The Courier". The Courier. Retrieved 2016-04-20. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°23′49″N 3°25′54″W / 56.3970°N 3.4318°W / 56.3970; -3.4318