Media release: Rothesay Pavilion announces two new directors and is set to re-open in 2019

From left to right- Jackie Shearer and Julie Tait. Photograph by Iseult Timmermans

WITH the recent appointment of joint artistic/executive directors – Jackie Shearer and Julie Tait, the countdown has also started when Rothesay Pavilion re-opens its doors towards the end of 2019, following a £14-million refurbishment.

An internationally-acknowledged modernist building, its design and purpose echoes the innovative approach and social values of the Bauhaus Movement that developed in 1919 until the 1930’s.

The new directors are highly-respected arts, cultural and business professionals.

Between them, they have established and run successful organisations and programmed a range of events – from curating work with award-winning artists, commissioning art in the public realm and programming flagship venues for a range of audiences.

Their work is underpinned by an extensive knowledge of the arts and cultural sector on a local, national and international scale.

The Pavilion is held in high regard, and its relaunch will play a pivotal role in the island’s economic regeneration and social inclusion initiatives, through increased tourism and an elevated national and international profile.

Ambitions for future programming include artistic collaborations and accessible community workshops, offering wide appeal across generational boundaries and diverse cultural tastes.

The refurbishment has been overseen by Argyll and Bute Council in partnership with the Rothesay Pavilion Charity which was set up in 2014 by the council to manage the Pavilion and the restoration of the building. The Pavilion’s renaissance and re-opening is a fitting celebration in the centenary year of the founding of the Bauhaus. 

In a joint statement, Jackie Shearer and Julie Tait said: “Rothesay Pavilion has a much-loved place in Bute’s history and heritage and brings fond memories to generations of Scots of time spent on happy island holidays. We are honoured and delighted to have been appointed to work with the people and communities of Bute to bring this wonderful building back to life.”

They added: “Thanks to the funding and support given by the Scottish Government, Argyll and Bute Council, The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the restoration returns The Pavilion to its role as a vibrant cultural centre for the local community, and, with its unique architecture and location, we are confident that it will become a magnet for national and international cultural and business tourism.”

Nick Merriman, chair, Rothesay Pavilion, said: “The rebirth of the Pavilion is a triumph for the whole community, and represents a labour of love not just for the Pavilion’s Board but for the entire island of Bute. To see Rothesay Pavilion restored to its former glory, delivering new and exciting cultural and economic opportunities, is a source of great pride and the realisation of a decades-held ambition.”

Len Scoullar, Provost of Argyll and Bute, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Jackie and Julie to their new roles. Progress on the refurbishment of the Pavilion is going well and we all very much look forward to the building opening its doors again later this year. I’d encourage anyone who previously visited the Pavilion to plan a return when it re-opens, and I’m confident the work being carried out will attract a new audience to Rothesay. The Pavilion, and the island itself, holds a special place in the hearts of many, and we look forward to the building once again become a cherished cultural and community hub.”

Mike Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute, who is also Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations in The Scottish Government, added: “The island of Bute represents a microcosm of the very best that Scotland has to offer. Spectacular scenery, world-class heritage, design and culture, a close-knit, welcoming community and expanding opportunities for sustainable, economic development. The Scottish Government is delighted to have supported this ambitious regeneration project, working with our partners, the Board and the community to deliver the successful rebirth of Rothesay Pavilion.”

Riona McMorrow, acting head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “It’s exciting to see this jewel in Bute’s heritage coming back to life. Its resurgence as a cultural venue for the local community and visitors will have a hugely positive impact on the town. We’re delighted that, thanks to the people that play The National Lottery, we are helping put Rothesay Pavilion back as the beating heart of this popular island.”

For further information, interviews and photographs contact: Wendy Niblock PR,       e: / m: 07961 814834.       

Notes to editors:

Artist/executive directors’ biographies:

Jackie Shearer is a highly-experienced arts and cultural professional with significant knowledge and expertise of developing and delivering creative opportunities in partnership with communities. She successfully initiated and led on the funding and development of ambitious capital and infrastructure projects, such as Platform/The Bridge in Easterhouse, The Tolbooth in Stirling and more recently, building community buy-in to Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock. Allied to her work on buildings and venue development, she has strong programming experience and a track record in forming and sustaining teams to deliver valued, high quality cultural initiatives linked to regeneration activity. In support of this, she is skilled in areas such as: project management; monitoring and reporting; stakeholder and community engagement; community planning and regeneration; charity governance; business and strategic planning.

Julie Tait has over 30 years’ experience in marketing, business development and change management and over 18 years’ experience on board advising, management and governance. She is a creative and results driven team leader with first-class strategic/operational experience and communications skills. She has had an extensive range of contracts at senior executive and industry level and was recently the chief executive of Culture Republic, Scotland’s leading audience insight data specialists. Julie was also commercial director of The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design, Architecture and the City and worked with Glasgow City Council in various marketing and commercial roles. She set up, managed and directed Glasgow’s first audience development agency – Glasgow Grows Audiences. 

The Rothesay Pavilion

The Pavilion lies at the heart of the Bute community and is a significant catalyst for regeneration and change on the island. The newly refurbished building will create jobs, improve the town environment and provide cultural and educational opportunities for locals and visitors to the island.

The £14million development will see the creation of four separate spaces: a main hall capable of seating up to 800 people; a self-contained studio theatre space for 100; a flexible exhibition area and a unique glazed top floor with spectacular views for weddings and other bespoke events. There will also be a café, shop and flexible work spaces.

The Pavilion will host national and international music, comedy, theatre and dance acts, as well as showing major exhibitions of history, photography and visual arts. The studio theatre space will have a strong programme of events by and for younger people, with local bands, DJs and comedians. In the off-season, the building will have more of a community focus; and community events and well-being activities will run in parallel all year round.

The Rothesay Pavilion Charity gratefully acknowledges support from the following funders, partners and trusts and foundations: Argyll and Bute Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Scottish Communities Landfill Fund, European Regional Development Fund, the Robertson Trust, Barcapel Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Wolfson Foundation.


MEDIA RELEASE issued by Wendy Niblock. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on this site. Email here for more information.

Check out for your very own media releases feed…

Stay connected with our various twitter feeds: CharitiesDrinkEducationEnergyFashionFilmFoodGardensLegalMotorsMusicOutdoorsPropertyScience and Sports. And not forgetting FinanceTheatreTravelFestivalsVisual ArtsAberdeenDundeeEdinburghGlasgowInvernessPerth and Stirling.

Wendy Niblock contact details…

Contact: Wendy Niblock