THE Earl of Wessex visited the new Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock.
The £10million facility is being built on former dockland at Customhouse Quay, Greenock. His Royal Highness is Patron of Greenock Arts Guild, who own The Beacon, and visited the site as construction of the new building nears completion. It is due to open in October this year.
The earl met with members of the design and construction team, together with directors of the Arts Guild, who have raised the funds for the project over the last eight years. He was later guest of honour at a fundraising dinner in support of The Beacon.
Greenock Arts Guild chairman Elliott McKelvie said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness is paying a second visit to The Beacon. His support is very much appreciated and helps us to raise the profile of the project well beyond the community of Inverclyde. The Beacon is an important part of the regeneration of former shipbuilding and dockland areas and will make a significant new contribution to the wider Scottish arts scene as well as providing real benefit to local people.”
The Beacon will replace the Arts Guild Theatre, and takes its name from the Georgian lamp which sits in front of the adjacent Customhouse. It was originally known as The Beacon and was a guiding light for ships mooring at the quayside on which the arts centre is being built.
The earl, who has been Patron of Greenock Arts Guild since 2009, has been actively involved in theatre since he attended school and university. In the late 1980s he worked for two theatrical production companies, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, where he was involved in projects such as The Phantom of the Opera, Starlight Express and Cats.
The Beacon is set to play an important part in the wider regeneration of Inverclyde and has plans and funding in place to offer employment and educational opportunities to those who have been long-term unemployed and those from challenged backgrounds.
The new building will house a 500 seat main auditorium together with a 130 seat studio theatre, three large rehearsal rooms and a riverside café / bar with views over the Clyde.