Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Encouraging better
design and innovation

We have been advising on the feasibility of a programmed to refurbish and extend the existing theatre complex in Pitlochry, including the addition of two new theatre spaces. The ‘theatre in the hills’ is a producing repertoire theatre notable for earning a higher proportion of its own income than other venues of its type, despite its relatively remote rural location.

The client body is composite in nature. In addition to the theatre’s senior management team and Trustees, it includes the theatre’s three funding bodies, Perth and Kinross Council, the economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, and Scotland’s arts and culture agency Creative Scotland. All wish to see a sustainable business model for the theatre.

The local council is most keen on improving the arts provision for locals and encouraging local cultural tourism because the theatre is an important component to the area’s tourist economy, Scottish Enterprise is keen on driving economic development more broadly and Creative Scotland wishes to develop the theatre ecology in Scotland as a whole.

Our advice has been based on:

  • the results of researching the current and potential audience segments as to market appetite (for a refreshed and extended theatre campus, broader arts programming and theatre-related short break Highland Perthshire cultural tourism concept) and our assessment of future economic impact of forecast audience growth
  • the range of options and costs associated with different physical configurations and phasing of construction worked up, under our briefing, by the architects and their associated quantity surveyors and cost consultants
  • the fit this project has with relevant local and national policy
  • the capacity of the theatre management and Board of Trustees to deliver a development project of the sort envisaged
  • the available sources and likelihood of winning funding.

The preferred option, still being examined, includes a site management programme, a new 300-seat flat floor rehearsal, exhibition and auditorium space with a prospective budget of up to £35m.