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Historic theatre is awarded £322,000 for major revamp

SCOTLAND'S oldest working theatre is in line for a major revamp after being awarded a grant of hundreds of thousands of pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Theatre Royal in Dumfries is to benefit from a cash injection of £322,300 for a project which aims to secure a sustainable future for the voluntary run theatre, as well as opening up its history to the public.

The award is part of £1.7 million provided by the HLF to cultural venues in Scotland in its latest round of grants.

Built in 1790, the theatre has links stretching back to Robert Burns, who helped finance its initial construction, while Peter Pan author JM Barrie was a regular visitor.

The grant will allow the volunteer-run theatre to be repaired and restored, while a building next door will be converted to house an exhibition showcasing its history.

The award will also help finance a new café and bar along with an educational studio and digital media suite which will offer an educational programme to encourage people to engage with the history of live theatre in the town.

Also benefiting from a share in the HLF money is Dunoon Burgh Hall, which dates from 1874 and was once the only theatre in Argyll.

It was saved from demolition in 2009 by the local community who brought it back into use as a performing and creative arts venue. It was also announced that a bid to transform the Town Hall In Kirkcudbright into a gallery showcasing the town's artistic heritage has made it through the first round application process .

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "Cultural venues have a hugely important part to play in the life of our communities.

"They are held dear in our hearts as they are interwoven with the history and traditions of a place.

"They have delighted audiences throughout the years and continue to do so.

"The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to help support the future of these treasures."

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