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Birchvale opens in Dalbeattie

A £500,000 state-of-the-art space for theatre, cinema and community events has opened in Dalbeattie.

A special ceremony was held on Thursday to mark the transformation of the old St Peter’s Primary School in Maxwell Street into the Birchvale.

It will provide a new home for the Birchvale Players, as well as a new resource for the whole community.

Management committee chairman, Stephen Carruthers, said: “There is a huge sense of achievement for us this week. It’s been a long process and we have had tremendous support from a wide range of funders, particularly Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Holywood Trust and the Dunn Trust. But we have had funding from more 20 different bodies and donors and several generous anonymous donations.

Youth members in the Green Room

“We are also a little in awe of the commitment to raising those funds shown by our treasurer Alex McMillan and secretary Dean McCormick.

“There’s still a little to do and our contractors DM Group have faced and overcome supply problems that no-one could have anticipated. But we are open for business on schedule and hope to see many of you through our doors in the near future.”

The building now features a fully equipped 72 seat theatre and dressing rooms and a bespoke green room with a kitchen and cafe. There’s also a large classroom and small committee room available for hire, as well as a work and storage room for the theatre group.

The building is fully accessible throughout and has a hearing loop and ample parking.

Agnes Dow - a founder member of the club - and Millie Hird cutting the celebration cake
Agnes Dow – a founder member of the club – and Millie Hird cutting the celebration cake

On Thursday, Millie Hird – a leading light in Birchvale Players’ youth group – performed the ribbon cutting at the front of the theatre with Dunn Trust representative Evelyn Hastings doing the honours inside the auditorium.

The first film played on Friday night and for five hours on both Friday and Saturday a continual stream of local people took the opportunity to have a guided tour of the building.

And they were definitely impressed, with comments from the visitors’ book describing it as “a fantastic achievement”, “fantastic” and “an asset to the town”.

Stephen added: “We aim to make this a valued and valuable asset to Dalbeattie and we thank everyone for their kind comments and look forward to their ongoing support.”

For details of all forthcoming events, ticket sales and the full list of funders, visit the new website at www.birchvale.scot.




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