THE last 12 months have been brutal for arts venues in Scotland and throughout the UK. Theatres, music venues and cinemas have gone dark, galleries have opened when allowed, only to find that for the most part only locals could visit.

The absence of live entertainment has hit hard. But so has the absence of art and cinema, particularly outside the cities where they are often the heart and soul of their communities.

As we continue to hunker down during the current lockdown we’ve been thinking of the venues we can’t wait to revisit later this year. 

The Hippodrome, Bo’ness

HeraldScotland:

Since it was refurbished and reopened in 2009, architect Matthew Steele’s 1912 cinema – the country’s oldest purpose-built picture house – has found a new life showing new and classic films. It has also established itself as a key venue for early cinema with its annual Silent Film Festival. Like so many arts venues, it had a difficult year in 2020, but hopefully 2021 will see it return to normality. When it reopens and we can all travel again, it’s really well worth a visit. To be fair, leg room is a bit tight, but the welcome will be warm. Sight and Sound magazine, no less, said of the Hippodrome, “if a cinema could give you a hug this is what it would feel like.”

Visit hippodromecinema.co.uk

DCA, Dundee

HeraldScotland:

Long before the V&A arrived on Dundee’s waterfront to soak up all the attention, the DCA, along with the nearby Dundee Rep Theatre (home also to Scottish Dance Theatre), has been doing its bit to reinvigorate the city’s image. Offering exhibition space, two cinema screens, a shop and an excellent cafe/restaurant, the DCA is always worth a visit. A new exhibition by Japanese artist Chikako Yamashiro is scheduled to open next month. Here’s hoping.

Visit dca.org.uk

Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, Dunfermline

The award-winning extension to the Carnegie Library, designed by Richard Murphy Architects, opened in 2017 and has done much to revitalise Dunfermline’s town centre, adding gallery space, a museum of local history and the excellent Heaven Scent cafe to the mix. It’s a building worthy of a former Scottish capital.

Visit onfife.com

Read More: Five Scottish libraries we love

Perth Theatre

Richard Murphy Architects were also behind the redevelopment of Perth Theatre, in conjunction with Simpson & Brown Architects. They grafted a very contemporary building onto the Edwardian auditorium, including building a new box office, cafe, bar and 200-seat studio theatre. The result, which reopened in 2017, is a vibrant arts space that needs to get its audience back.

Visit horsecross.co.uk

The Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

If things were normal Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences should be opening at the Dick Institute on January 15. Unfortunately, these are not normal times and who knows when we will next get the chance to visit. Still, the exhibition is a reminder that Kilmarnock’s gallery has always been ambitious in its programming. The work of Bill Viola, Abram Games, Quentin Blake, Gerhard Richter, Nathan Coley and Christine Borland have all featured over the years.

Visit eastayrshire.com