NEWS: National Theatre of Scotland officially launches Rockvilla

The National Theatre of Scotland has remodelled and extensively refurbished a former Cash and Carry building in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of north-west Glasgow, to create Rockvilla. This new centre for creativity, production and talent development, designed by Hoskins Architects, provides the Company with approximately 3700 sq. metres (40,000sq.ft) of space over two levels.

The new National Theatre of Scotland facility enables the Company, for the first time, to house all its rehearsal and production activity under one roof. The canal-side building provides the Company and the Scottish theatre sector with a flexible, fit for purpose space with three rehearsal rooms of varying scales, creative development spaces, a learning and community suite, a working wardrobe facility, production workshop and technical store, office space, meeting room facilities and social areas. The Company will remain a “theatre without walls’’, committed to touring throughout Scotland and beyond.

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The company moved into the building in November 2016 and already National Theatre of Scotland productions of Let The Right One In and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart have rehearsed in Rockvilla before their respective openings at the McCullough Theatre for Texas Performing Arts in Austin, Texas and The McKittrick Hotel in New York in January 2017 and December 2016. Alongside these touring productions the building has also already accommodated a programme of talent development involving the National Theatre of Scotland Starter for 10 artists and provided space for industry events.

Rockvilla is designed by RIBA award-winning architects Hoskins Architects, based in Glasgow. They have an acclaimed portfolio of buildings designed for the arts and cultural sector including Mareel in Shetland, the UK’s most northerly cinema and music venue, The Bridge Arts Centre in Easterhouse and Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in Inverness. Hoskins Architects won the commission to design ‘A Gathering Space’, Scotland’s first ever stand-alone pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008. The construction of Rockvilla was undertaken by Glasgow-based company Luddon Construction.

Dame Seona Reid, Chair of the National Theatre of Scotland said:

Rockvilla, the new headquarters for the National Theatre of Scotland, is not only a major resource for our national theatre, but also for the entire Scottish theatre sector. It will allow us to expand our offer to artists, practitioners, partners and communities and contribute significantly to a new and evolving cultural hub on the banks of the Forth and Clyde canal in north Glasgow.   We are indebted to the vision and continued support of the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, and a host of trusts, foundations and individuals. Without their generosity, we would not have been able to make this project a reality. We are committed to making Rockvilla’s benefits to cultural life in Glasgow, and throughout Scotland, impactful and long lasting.  The National Theatre of Scotland looks forward to this building delivering value locally, nationally and internationally and helping all Scotland’s theatre-makers to be stronger, braver and better in all in we do.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism, Fiona Hyslop said:

Rockvilla will not only be a centre for creativity, production and talent development for the National Theatre of Scotland, it will be a hub of innovation for our wider Scottish theatre industry. This dedicated and inspiring space will enable this sector to continue to flourish and stand strong in their ambitions and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been instrumental in helping the development. I look forward to enjoying the success of this new initiative across Scotland’s stages, and around the world.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council said

I am delighted to see the opening of Rockvilla on the banks of the canal in Speirs Wharf.  This fantastic building is not only the engine room for the National Theatre of Scotland and the wider theatre community, but is also the latest act in the growing number of cultural organisations locating in this part of the city, all playing a key role in its regeneration.  I have no doubt that Rockvilla will help inspire more outstanding work for the National Theatre of Scotland, and we are delighted to have supported its creation.”

The National Theatre of Scotland is delighted to be part of an emerging cultural hub in this area of North Glasgow.  Other cultural tenants include Scottish Opera, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Glue Factory and the Whisky Bond.

Rockvilla has been supported by major financial contributions from the Scottish Government (£2 million), Glasgow City Council (£500,000) and the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund (£594,481). The National Theatre of Scotland has also been successful in its fundraising campaign for Rockvilla, raising over £2 million to date towards the project’s overall costs from philanthropic sources including trusts and foundations, the popular Light a Beacon fundraising campaign and a major gift from Chris and Colin Weir.  The entire projects costs are £6.475million.

A new interactive, visually striking map, designed by Glasgow based design agency Pidgin Perfect, is also unveiled on 23 January, demonstrating the contributions from individual donors who have lit up their chosen areas of the country with beacons.

 

The first documented use of the name Rockvilla was in an 1860 Ordnance Survey map, and it is likely that the name derives from the extensive quarrying industry that once existed in this area of Glasgow surrounding the canals. Several local buildings and establishments have borne the name Rockvilla, notably Rockvilla School (demolished in 1996) and Rockvilla Church, which still stands today on Saracen Street with its new name, Possilpark Parish Church and the wider area is referred to as Rockvilla Basin.  The National Theatre of Scotland is proud to reclaim the name Rockvilla, as it takes up residence in this historic area and newly -regenerated cultural quarter of the City.