Media Release: NTS launch new engine room for Scottish theatre on the banks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, in Glasgow

NTSRockvilla launch 2- Eoin Carey .jpg

The National Theatre of Scotland launch Rockvilla – an engine room for Scottish theatre on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal, in Glasgow, designed by Hoskins Architects

Pidgin Perfect’s interactive map of Scotland artwork revealed in the reception of Rockvilla

AT 9am on Monday 23 January 2017, Ms Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Dame Seona Reid, chair of the National Theatre of Scotland, and Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, launched Rockvilla, the National Theatre of Scotland’s new permanent headquarters in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of Glasgow.

The National Theatre of Scotland has remodelled and extensively refurbished a former Cash and Carry building in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of north-west Glasgow, to create Rockville.

This new centre for creativity, production and talent development, designed by Hoskins Architects, provides the company with approximately 3,700 sq. metres (40,000sq.ft) of space, over two levels.

The new National Theatre of Scotland facility enables the company, for the first time, to house all its rehearsal and production activity under one roof.

The canalside building provides the company, and the Scottish theatre sector, with a flexible, fit-for-purpose space with three rehearsal rooms of varying scales, creative development spaces, a learning and community suite, a working wardrobe facility, production workshop and technical store, office space, meeting room facilities and social areas.

The company will remain a ‘theatre without walls’, committed to touring throughout Scotland and beyond.

The company moved into the building in November 2016 and already National Theatre of Scotland productions of Let The Right One In and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart have rehearsed in Rockvilla before their respective openings at the McCullough Theatre for Texas Performing Arts in Austin, Texas, and The McKittrick Hotel in New York in January 2017 and December 2016.

Alongside these touring productions the building has also already accommodated a programme of talent development involving the National Theatre of Scotland Starter for 10 artists and provided space for industry events.

Rockvilla is designed by RIBA award-winning architects, Hoskins Architects, based in Glasgow.

They have an acclaimed portfolio of buildings designed for the arts and cultural sector including Mareel in Shetland, the UK’s most northerly cinema and music venue, The Bridge Arts Centre in Easterhouse and Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness.

Hoskins Architects won the commission to design ‘A Gathering Space’, Scotland’s first-ever stand-alone pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008.

The construction of Rockvilla was undertaken by Glasgow-based company, Luddon Construction.

Said Dame Seona Reid, chair of the National Theatre of Scotland: “Rockvilla, the new headquarters for the National Theatre of Scotland, is not only a major resource for our national theatre, but also for the entire Scottish theatre sector.

“It will allow us to expand our offer to artists, practitioners, partners and communities and contribute significantly to a new and evolving cultural hub on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal in north Glasgow.

“We are indebted to the vision and continued support of the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, and a host of trusts, foundations and individuals.

“Without their generosity, we would not have been able to make this project a reality. We are committed to making Rockvilla’s benefits to cultural life in Glasgow, and throughout Scotland, impactful and long lasting.

“The National Theatre of Scotland looks forward to this building delivering value locally, nationally and internationally and helping all Scotland’s theatre-makers to be stronger, braver and better in all in we do.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Rockvilla will not only be a centre for creativity, production and talent development for the National Theatre of Scotland, it will be a hub of innovation for our wider Scottish theatre industry.

“This dedicated and inspiring space will enable this sector to continue to flourish and stand strong in their ambitions and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been instrumental in helping the development.

“I look forward to enjoying the success of this new initiative across Scotland’s stages, and around the world.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted to see the opening of Rockvilla on the banks of the canal in Speirs Wharf.

“This fantastic building is not only the engine room for the National Theatre of Scotland and the wider theatre community, but is also the latest act in the growing number of cultural organisations locating in this part of the city, all playing a key role in its regeneration.

“I have no doubt that Rockvilla will help inspire more outstanding work for the National Theatre of Scotland, and we are delighted to have supported its creation.”

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to be part of an emerging cultural hub in this area of north Glasgow.

Other cultural tenants include Scottish Opera, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Glue Factory and the Whisky Bond.

Rockvilla has been supported by major financial contributions from the Scottish Government (£2 million), Glasgow City Council (£500,000) and the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (£594,481).

The National Theatre of Scotland has also been successful in its fundraising campaign for Rockvilla, raising over £2 million to date towards the project’s overall costs from philanthropic sources including trusts and foundations, the popular Light a Beacon fundraising campaign and a major gift from Chris and Colin Weir.

The entire projects costs are £6.475million.

A new interactive, visually striking map, designed by Glasgow based design agency, Pidgin Perfect, is also unveiled on 23 January, demonstrating the contributions from individual donors who have lit up their chosen areas of the country with beacons.

Full list of major donors includes: Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Chris and Colin Weir, The Robertson Trust, The Linbury Trust, The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Hugh Fraser Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The Robert Barr Charitable Trust, The Barcapel Foundation, The Binks Trust, The MacRobert Trust and The Bellahouston Bequest Fund.

This project will cost no more to operate annually than the company’s current facilities, whilst providing a greatly enhanced and fit-for-purpose building which will transform the way the National Theatre of Scotland works and supports the Scottish theatre sector at large.

About Rockville – the name and the area

  • The first documented use of the name Rockvilla was in an 1860 Ordnance Survey map, and it is likely that the name derives from the extensive quarrying industry that once existed in this area of Glasgow surrounding the canals. Several local buildings and establishments have borne the name Rockvilla, notably Rockvilla School (demolished in 1996) and Rockvilla Church, which still stands today on Saracen Street with its new name, Possilpark Parish Church and the wider area is referred to as Rockvilla Basin. The National Theatre of Scotland is proud to reclaim the name Rockvilla, as it takes up residence in this historic area and newly -regenerated cultural quarter of the City, alongside organisations including The Whisky Bond, Scottish Opera and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.



  • Architect – Hoskins Architects
  • Structural engineer – Woolgar Hunter
  • Mechanical and electrical engineer – Atelier 10
  • Employers agent/quantity surveyor/CDM co-ordinator – principal designer/clerk of works – Thomas & Adamson
  • Acoustic consultant – Sandy Brown Associates

PARTNERSHIPS: The National Theatre of Scotland has established close working relationships throughout the project with Scottish Canals, the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership, Glasgow’s North Quarter Project alongside key funders the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council.

The National Theatre of Scotland has recently announced its 2017 programme of work, with additional productions to be announced during the year.

Jackie Wylie will take up the post of artistic director at the end of March 2017. Lucy Mason is currently in post as interim chief executive.


For further information please contact:

Emma Schad – head of Press

Tel: 0141 227 9016 / 07930 308018

Jane Hamilton – Rockvilla communications

Tel: 07967 742491

Joe Blythe –  press

Tel: 0141 227 9497 / 07500 258404

You can follow the National Theatre of Scotland’s press office on Twitter @NTS_press

Rockvilla architectural images are available from the National Theatre of Scotland’s press area , please contact Joe Blythe for a password.

Rockvilla launch images are available on request.

Notes to editors:

  •  The National Theatre of Scotland is dedicated to playing the great stages, arts centres, village halls, schools and site-specific locations of Scotland, the UK and internationally. As well as creating ground-breaking productions and working with the most talented theatre-makers, the National Theatre of Scotland produces significant community engagement projects, innovates digitally and works constantly to develop new talent. Central to this is finding pioneering ways to reach current and new audiences and to encourage people’s full participation in the company’s work. With no performance building of its own, the company works with existing and new venues and companies to create and tour theatre of the highest quality. Founded in 2006, the company, in its short life, has become a globally significant theatrical player, with an extensive repertoire of award-winning work. The National Theatre of Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.
  • The Rockvilla Light a Beacon campaign was launched in October 2015, with support from Ian McDiarmid, Blythe Duff, Greg Hemphill, Alan Cumming and Lorraine McIntosh, all of whom have performed with the National Theatre of Scotland. The award-winning creative team at Pidgin Perfect was selected, from nearly 50 applications, for their beautiful and high-impact design for a new National Theatre of Scotland map. This artwork will stand in the entrance foyer of Rockvilla, created from an ornate laser-cut sheet, into which bespoke, translucent ‘Beacons’ will be placed, aligning with significant features in the Scottish landscape: cities, towns, geographical or areas of particular cultural interest. More than 80 Beacons have been lit by donors from Foula in Shetland in the North, to Portpatrick in the South. Streets, beaches, towns, airports, much-loved places, and unique Scottish landmarks including the Orkney’s Italian Chapel, Balevullin Beach and the Edinburgh Drill Hall (where the National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed Black Watch was first performed) have all been illuminated by supporters of the Rockvilla campaign. The National Theatre of Scotland invites friends and supporters to light up their favourite part of Scotland by ‘buying a Beacon’ in the new map. Each Beacon will represent a place chosen by a supporter.  Donors might wish to choose to light up their hometown, a beautiful beach, a family holiday spot, or the place where they saw their favourite National Theatre of Scotland production. The Beacons themselves are fabricated from cast acrylic resin creating an arresting, colourful and detailed constellation of support. Whilst the physical map lives in Rockvilla, its web-based counterpart will enable supporters to interact with the map from wherever they are in the world. The digital version of the map means donors can light a beacon and send a message to Scotland that can be viewed online from anywhere.
  • About Hoskins Architects  Founded in Glasgow in 1998, Hoskins Architects is one of the UK’s leading architectural practices. With studios in Glasgow and Berlin the practice is involved in a wide range of projects across Scotland and internationally. Though having an established reputation for the design of arts and cultural buildings, the company undertakes interesting projects of almost any size, across a wide variety of sectors. From private houses and exhibition design to national public institutions and large commercial developments, the firm strives to produce elegant, well-crafted buildings that generate a sense of place, belonging to their location and becoming enjoyable places to live, work and play. Their considered approach, including that of engaging people in discussion throughout the design process, has led to their involvement in a number of exemplar and award-winning projects, often delivered with local authority and public body clients, setting the standard for the highest quality in design. Contact details and sample projects can be found on their website at

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NTS contact details…

Contact: Emma Schad
Phone: 01412279016