Pitlochry Festival Theatre

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Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Address Port-na-Craig
Public transit Pitlochry railway station
Type Theatre
Capacity 544
Opened 19 May 1951 (original tent theatre)
1981 (current building)
Architect James Dunbar-Naismith

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre is large performing arts theatre located in the town and burgh of Pitlochry in Perthshire, Scotland. The idea of a performance space in the area was conceived in the late 1940s by John Stewart, a leading promoter of amateur dramatics in Glasgow. The theatre officially opened on 19 May 1951.


After the decline and subsequent closure of his Park Theatre Club in the West End of Glasgow, John Stewart decided to plan a theatre site in the Knockendarroch area of Pitlochry. However Stewart's plans were met with little success as building licences were refused by the Ministry of Works.[1]

Following this setback, Stewart had the idea of founding a tent-style theatre. This would involve him viewing the wet weather tent of London's Regent's Park and the Birmingham Arena Theatre. Stewart searched for the construction company of these tents in Walsall, eventually investing in one for a theatre space for Pitlochry.

After construction work and promotion by the Scottish Tourist Board, the theatre officially opened on May 19th, 1951. In his opening address, chairman of the board and later Secretary of State for Scotland Tom Johnston said, "This theatre is a monument to one man’s courage, one man’s persistence, and one man’s great faith."

After years 30 years of use and regular cases of damage to the tents by weather, it was decided in the late 1970s that the tent structure would be renovated and stabilised. Construction work began on a new theatre building at the current site, and eventually on May 19th, 1981, the new theatre building was opened on the 30th anniversary of John Stewart's first tent.[2]

Modern day[edit]

The theatre is now of great cultural importance to the Perthshire area. Annually every summer, the theatre and its surrounding area attract thousands of tourists with the theatre's famous summer season, which showcases a large amount of the country's talent in dramatic arts, comedy and writing.


In 2014, it was announced that the Pitlochry Festival Theatre would undergo a £25 million expansion of the current building. Plans have been made to have the expansion completed and opened for the theatre's 70th anniversary in 2021.[3]


  1. ^ "Pitlochry Festival Theatre". www.gla.ac.uk. University of Glasgow. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Pitlochry Festival Theatre". www.theatrestrust.org.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  3. ^ McClean, Pauline. "Raising the curtain at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre". www.bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2017.