Fife Council agree to University takeover of Byre Theatre

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Fife Council has accepted proposals by the University of St Andrews to take over the running of the Byre Theatre.

Last week, the University proposed that it would run the theatre, which has been closed for over a year. The venue would be used for lectures during the day and would then open for community use in the evenings, weekends and during holiday periods.

Fife Council’s executive committee recommended the University as the preferred bidder to lease and run the facility. The groups are now working together to agree specific terms on how the scheme will run.

Keith Winter, the executive director of environment, enterprise and communities at Fife Council, said: “Officers will now work with the University to agree the specific terms of the lease.

“This will be brought back to the committee for agreement at the earliest opportunity.”

A spokesperson for the University of St Andrews said: “We are delighted that our proposed rescue package for the Byre Theatre has the support of Fife Council. We look forward to developing a detailed agreement together with them, Creative Scotland, theatre users, and the local community.”

However, the bid has come under fire from some groups. In a letter to The Herald Lorne Boswell, the Scottish secretary of actors’ union Equity, said: “This is no rescue, this is a takeover. And in this takeover there are serious questions to be asked about the use of Lottery funds.

“The Byre Theatre is a beautifully designed theatre. The current building opened in 2001 after a long and well-supported public campaign to raise funds for a new building for the town’s producing theatre.

“As well as significant private sponsorship for this gem of a theatre, the National Lottery committed over £4 million to make the project happen.

“The proposal on the table seems to more about Fife Council managing a budget rather than what is best for the town of St Andrews.

“However, the transfer of a building funded by the Lottery to a use that would not have been eligible for Lottery funding needs to be challenged.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t believe that people can still find things to complain about a the Byre, that has been closed for a year, being reopened.

    This is great news for the town, university, students and locals 🙂

  2. Henry, while this is Byreall good news there are many good reasons for the the local community To be skeptical. The Byre was a primarily a professional and community theatre and those aspects will be diminished in this deal. Their proposal also talks heavily about ‘dead time’ during the day, which reveals a level of ignorance over how theatres work.

    This deal is good in ways but it is far from perfect.

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