Media Release: National Theatre of Scotland announces new centre for creativity, production and talent development

National Theatre of Scotland new building 1

The National Theatre of Scotland to create a £5.8m permanent headquarters in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of Glasgow

Redevelopment of building disused since 2002 will include one of the largest theatrical rehearsal rooms in Scotland, a dedicated facility for small-scale community drama work and a fully-operational technical and costume production resource.

While the building will not be a performance space, the technical and administrative facilities created will enable the National Theatre of Scotland to serve ever-better the country through its innovative ‘Theatre Without Walls’ model of operation

THE National Theatre of Scotland today announces plans to remodel and refurbish extensively a former Cash and Carry building in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of north-west Glasgow, to create a new centre for creativity, production and talent development, designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects.

The company – in its short, nine year history – has become a major theatrical producing force on the Scottish, UK and international stage, with a reputation as a creator of world-class theatre.

The National Theatre of Scotland will develop the disused building in Glasgow’s Craighall Road, in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of the north of the city, and turn it into a major resource for the whole of the Scottish theatre industry.

The canal-side building will provide the company with approximately 3700 sq. metres (40,000 sq.ft) of space over two levels.

For the first time, all of the company’s ‘back-room’ activity will, through the new development, come under one roof, avoiding the high costs of commercial rentals, and streamlining all operations.

The building will create a cost-effective, efficient and sustainable operational hub, from which to build the company’s artistic ambitions, productivity and reach, whilst ultimately remaining true to the National Theatre of Scotland’s vision as a ‘theatre without walls’.

This building will not be a performance space, but a place where work can be devised, developed and rehearsed, and where the crucial supporting functions of set and costume-making can be located.

This dedicated space will allow the company to expand its commitment to making the National Theatre of Scotland a learning organisation.

A Learning and Community suite will be the focus for engaging with a diverse range of participants.

Creative Development spaces will offer new talent development opportunities for hundreds for artists every year as well as realising the potential to host labs and residencies and mentoring opportunities and acting as a beacon to attract world-class international artists to Scotland.

The company’s productions and performances themselves will continue to be site-specific, in halls, pubs, schools, fields and high rise flats, as well as in traditional theatre settings throughout the world.

By building this ‘factory of innovation’ in the industrial heartland of north Glasgow, the company is also making a commitment to the regeneration of this area of Scotland’s biggest city.

Working in partnership with key players, the National Theatre of Scotland aims to connect more meaningfully with previously excluded communities.

Working closely with Scottish Canals, the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership and internationally renowned, award-winning Glasgow-based architects, Gareth Hoskins Architects, the new building will add an eye-catching feature to the open and secure landscaped redevelopment around the Speirs Wharf waterways.

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

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

The building is designed by RIBA award-winning architects Gareth 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.

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

Key features of the new building:

• The new centre will become a beacon for theatrical innovation and provide a major resource to the theatre community in Scotland.

• The building will be a centre for community activity in the north of Glasgow allowing the National Theatre of Scotland to work with local groups in developing drama skills.

• The development and design are highly attractive and will enhance this area of Glasgow.

• The building will enhance the growing reputation of the Speirs Wharf/Canalside area as a cultural hub.

• The building will allow the National Theatre of Scotland to consolidate its current enforced disparate approach to rehearsal and technical space by uniting this activity under one roof with the financial and resource benefits this brings.

• When it opens, in spring 2016, the National Theatre of Scotland’s new HQ will have ample office space for its full time staff of 43, with enough space for freelance project workers and writers and for a host of visiting artists and creatives.

• A full wardrobe workshop will provide the company’s busy costume department with enough space to make, maintain, and store the hundreds of costumes needed for productions. This will include a dyeing room, laundry and cutting room with a new on-site costume storage area.

• Technical workshops for all aspects of production, such as sound, light, and audio-visual, will come under one roof, with optimum conditions for the making and maintaining of large scale scenery. Of the three rehearsal rooms, one will be amongst the largest anywhere in Scotland, allowing for simultaneous rehearsals of productions in one place, rather than as now, using a variety of venues across the city and country.

• A dedicated space will enable the company’s Learn Department to develop an annual programme of work. This will be designed to welcome a wide range of groups from the community and from schools, to the heart of company’s new building to participate in workshops, meet the company and watch rehearsals.

• The building will allow the company to become more environmentally sustainable with a biomass boiler, new cladding and roof, an up to date Building Management System, and low-voltage lighting.

Laurie Sansom, artistic director, the National Theatre of Scotland, says:

“For the first time ever, we have the opportunity to create a space that brings together our company, our colleagues and all our communities. A place of imagination, learning and play. A space from which we can begin to fulfil our ambitions, not just for the National Theatre of Scotland but for the wider theatre community and the entire nation.”

Chris Coleman-Smith, director, Gareth Hoskins Architects, says:

“We are delighted to be working with the National Theatre of Scotland, and a wider team of very capable consultants, to create a place where functions currently housed in scattered, and in cases inadequate, accommodation can be brought together in an efficient new facility.

“We are excited by the ambition of the organisation to create theatre on a national and international scale that is contemporary, confident and forward-looking and ourselves look to deliver a building that reflects that ambition.

“The new facility is designed to meet both their immediate and long term requirements, facilitating the continued evolution, development and growth of the National Theatre of Scotland, and contributing to the sustainable regeneration of the area.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Scottish Government, says:

“The new Speirs Wharf centre for creativity, production and talent development will be a hub of innovation within the Scottish theatre industry.

“It will become a dedicated and inspiring space where work will be devised and developed, sets and costumes designed and creative expression explored.

“Not only will the facility assist with new productions and work, by redeveloping a disused building the facility will help to regenerate the canal area at Speirs Wharf.

“The centre has been supported by £2 million of Scottish government funding. It is important we support culture and heritage, protecting budgets and supporting the sector wherever possible. The National Theatre of Scotland is renowned for world class productions and these facilities will help them create exciting new work.”

Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for Jobs and the Economy, Glasgow City Council says:
“I am delighted that the National Theatre of Scotland has chosen to create its permanent headquarters in Speirs Wharf – this is tremendous news for Glasgow and this part of the city in particular.

“Glasgow City Council is investing £500,000 in this project, which will provide a fantastic return in the form of a state of the art resource for our theatre community and – I am sure – a series of world-class productions.

“There is now a very strong cluster of cultural organisations located near the banks of the canal, and this will further drive the regeneration of the North Quarter.”

Dame Barbara Kelly, chair of the Robertson Trust, says: “The Robertson Trust is delighted to support the creation of a new home for the National Theatre of Scotland in recognition of the excellent work it does in developing talent and promoting participation within communities throughout the country.

“We will continue to work closely with the National Theatre of Scotland and look forward to seeing this new building being used to its full potential, providing a base to support the development of creative talent and producing work which will be performed in theatres and community settings across Scotland.”


This project has proceeded on the basis that it should 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.

The total estimated cost for the new building is £5,875,000, with £3,454,481 secured to date from the following sources:

• £2million Scottish Government grant • £500,000 Glasgow City Council
• £469,481 Vacant and Derelict Land Fund • £400,000 The Robertson Trust
• £75,000 The Wolfson Foundation • £10,000 The Binks Trust

In addition, the Scottish Government has agreed to provide a loan funding facility to enable the National Theatre of Scotland to progress the project. The company continues to aim to raise funds via Trusts, Foundations and to launch an appeal for major gifts to reduce the need for loan financing and importantly reduce on-going expenditure.

• Architect – Gareth Hoskins
• Structural Engineer – Woolgar Hunter
• Mechanical and Electrical Engineer – Atelier 10
• Quantity Surveyor – Thomas Adamson
• Acoustic Consultant – Sandy Brown Associates
• Transport Consultant – Sam Shortt Consultants
• Accessibility Design Consultant – Phil Chambers Consultancy

TIME SCALE: Work is scheduled to begin on-site in July 2015 and construction complete in spring 2016.

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


For further information please contact:
Emma Schad – Press Manager – 0141 227 9016/07930 308018


1. 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.

2. Founded in Glasgow in 1998, Gareth Hoskins Architects Ltd. 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

3. The Wolfson Foundation ( is a charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health & disability, education and the arts & humanities. Founded in 1955, the Wolfson Foundation celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. During that period, it has awarded over £800 million (£1.3 billion in real terms) to some 10,000 projects. All awards are given on the basis of expert review. For further information please contact Elizabeth Crawford, Partnerships & Communications Manager, Tel: 020 7323 5730 ext. 214, Email:

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National Theatre of Scotland contact details…

Contact: Emma Schad
Phone: 01412279016