Tom Johnston

The intriguing story about one of Scotland’s unsung heroes is being told in a new play being staged at Paisley Arts Centre.

The one-act play by award-winning Robert Dawson Scott, called The Electrifying Mr Johnston is about prominent Scottish journalist turned socialist politician, Tom Johnston.

Tom Johnston

The play is a Mull Theatre production and is being staged on Friday, March 8, at 7.30pm.

Tom Johnston was a radical thinker, land reformer, and scourge of the establishment, who began his political career as a town councillor in his hometown of Kirkintilloch.

He was elected to Parliament as part of the Red Clydeside surge of MPs in 1922, alongside giants of socialism including James Maxton. John Wheatley, and Davey Kirkwood.

Appointed Secretary of State for Scotland during the Second World War and frustrated by the migration of Scottish workers to the Midlands and South East of England, Johnston launched numerous initiatives for Scotland.

As late as the 1950s most rural communities in the Highlands were still lit by paraffin lamps. But the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board, a product of Johnston’s vision and a triumph of engineering, brought electricity to the rural communities of Scotland and changed the Highlands forever.

The play contrasts Johnston’s early radical writings and beliefs with later compromises, as he vies with Highland landowners for access to land for the benefit of the people and the country as a whole.

Following the performance of the Electrifying Mr Johnston there will be Bite-Size, which is a programme of rehearsed readings of new plays and works-in-progress, hosted by director Alasdair McCrone and playwright Peter Arnott with a cast of professional actors.

The readings, followed by feedback and questions and answers offers the audience a chance to be part of and enjoy the fun of the creative process.

To book tickets log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on or call 0300 300 1210.

Voice and Verse

PAISLEY Arts Centre will be hosting three dementia friendly concerts this spring, presented by Live Music Now.

Voice and Verse

This begins with Aidan Moodie and Graham Rorie, on Wednesday, February 20, featuring an eclectic mix of traditional and self-penned tunes and songs from across Scotland and beyond.

The other LMN performances are MK Duo, who are Roberto Kuhn and Callum Morton-Teng on Wednesday March 13 and Voice and Verse, who are Laura McFall and Kristine Donnan on Wednesday June 12.

MK Duo

A spokesperson for Live Music Now said:

“Live Music Now Scotland’s dementia friendly concerts are relaxed and informal, and the audience is invited to sing and dance along if they like.

“We have consulted with experts in dementia to find a format that is likely to be both enjoyable and beneficial to the audience’s health and wellbeing.

Graham Rorie and Aidan Moodie

“The musicians tailor the performance so that some tunes may already be familiar, and therefore good for singing along to, which means the concert becomes interactive with everyone feeling welcome to join in.

“For those who prefer just to listen, they can enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit while being entertained by outstanding performers.

“It has been shown that participating in arts activities is extremely beneficial for older people with dementia, improving such things as communication, memory, enjoyment of life and creative thinking.”

For more information, or to book one of these performances call Renfrewshire Leisure box office on 0300 300 1210 or go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on.

Tickets for these performances are £5, and include tea and coffee. Carers go free.

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paisley town hall

The people of Paisley are getting their first glimpse at what to expect from their transformed town hall – including entirely new rooms inside the existing building, and an increased capacity allowing bigger-name performers to bring new life to the town.

paisley town hall

The magnificent Victorian-era town hall is currently undergoing major internal refurbishment into what will be one of the West of Scotland’s landmark entertainment venues when it reopens in 2021.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the work to turn the much-loved 19th-century architectural gem into a 21st-century facility which will drive new footfall to the area, while delivering upgrades essential to keep it at the heart of local life for generations to come.

paisley town hall

Some initial artist images have been released, with more to follow in the coming weeks, and features people can look forward to in the revamped building include:

– the capacity of the main hall increased to 1,200 for a standing gig, allowing the venue to attract bigger and better shows than ever before, boosting the local night-time economy;

paisley town hall

– entirely new rooms created inside the current building – including a new café-bar and dance studio built in currently-unused space. There will also be a smaller venue-within-a-venue – meaning more use, more footfall, and a better range of community events;

– transformed audience experience including lowered stage, new seating, better sightlines and acoustics, new reception area, and much improved access to and around the building;

– an entire replacement of the building’s decades-old electrical and mechanical equipment, and improved backroom facilities allowing more weddings and conferences;

The council is taking forward the £22m work as part of a much-bigger investment in the town centre designed to change the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

That includes a transformation of Paisley Museum which will almost quadruple current visitor numbers, a new modern home for library services on the High Street, and major investment in key outdoor spaces such as Abbey Close and County Square to create places which will keep residents, students and visitors in the town for longer.

The building’s operators Renfrewshire Leisure have already been speaking to some of Scotland’s top music promoters about using the venue when it reopens.

Mark Mackie, of Regular Music – who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names as the man behind massive gigs including the Castle Concerts at Edinburgh Castle and Summer Nights at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand, said: “As a Paisley buddy myself, I’m really excited about the transformation of Paisley Town Hall.

“This investment is great news for gig-goers in the west of Scotland and it’s definitely a venue Regular Music would look to bring bands to. The new facilities, refurbished auditorium and café-bar will make it a must-visit venue for bands and audiences.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Paisley Town Hall is a much-loved building which has been at the heart of life in the town for generations – but to keep it there the interior of this beautiful building needs the revamp now being delivered.

“The council is making a substantial investment – not just to do the necessary maintenance to keep the building viable, but to take what it can do to a totally new level.

“As a result, the revamp is predicted to double the number of people who use it each year – bringing new life to the town centre and helping anchor our ongoing wider work to use our outstanding cultural and heritage story to bring new visitors to the area.

“It also means creating a facility in which people will be able to experience world-class culture on their own doorstep, with all the opportunities that means to make people’s lives better.

“And while the renovation is happening we will be making sure everybody knows Paisley continues to remain open for business.”

The building is being redesigned by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, whose previous projects include the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaping Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The town hall revamp is being run by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.

The council worked with Homes Miller and Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall –which has won a string of industry awards since it opened in 2015.

Initial work to clear out the building is already under way, with stonework and roof repairs taking place over the summer, ahead of main construction work starting towards the end of the year. The building is due to reopen in late 2021.

Little Gift 4 (credit Lewis Wileman)

Join the award-winning M6 Theatre Company as they present Little Gift, a brand new family show touring to Paisley Arts Centre on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd March.  

Little Gift 4 (credit Lewis Wileman)

Directed by Andy Manley (White, One Little Word), one of the world’s leading theatre makers producing work for children and young people, Little Gift tells an optimistic story of friendship and hope.

Ted is a lonely old soul, living all alone in the big city. One morning his life is changed forever when a mysterious helping hand steps in and disrupts his quiet routine. This playful show presents Ted’s tale with a heart-warming mix of puppetry, live music and song.

litle gift 1

Artistic Director of M6, Gilly Baskeyfield, created the show with Andy Manley:

“The idea for the show came from a chat with Andy about stories of redemption and helping a sad character, much like A Christmas Carol. Giving a gift is a lovely thing for both parties. It’s a way of noticing somebody and saying ‘I remember you’. ”

Little Gift is performed by actor Guy Hargreaves, who has worked previously with M6 on the original tour of their OFFIE Award-winning show Whatever the Weather. Gilly explains:

Little Gift 2 (credit Lewis Wileman)

“We knew we needed a very special actor to bring Little Gift to life and we saw a number of performers for the role. Guy’s wonderful attitude, alongside his top notch clowning, dancing and musical skills make him the perfect fit. The audiences love him.”

Founded in 1977 and based in Rochdale, M6 Theatre Company is acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading touring theatre companies specialising in creating and delivering high quality theatre for young audiences. The company’s production of WHATEVER THE WEATHER (in association with Polka Theatre, created and directed by Gilly Baskeyfield) won an Off West End Theatre Award in 2016 for Best Production for Young People (0-7 years).

Little Gift is recommended for ages 3-7. Tickets cost £5 and are available from the Paisley Arts Centre box office on 0300 300 1210 or visit www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on .

tots

We are excited to announce that we will be running our School Of Rock during the Easter holidays for age 7 to 12 years from Monday the 1st of April to Thursday the 4th of April with our teacher Johnny Barr. The week is suitable for children who already play an instrument or those who have no experience but are interested in taking up an instrument.

The week will take place in Brick lane studios from 10am to 3pm daily with an end of week performance. Places are very limited, so to book a place, send a pm contact Diane on 07896689816 or Laura on laura@dianemitchellmusicschool.com🥁

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NEW MUSICAL TOTS CLASS 

Age 1-3 years

Saturday in Paisley at 9.15am with our tutor Anna Burns. Enjoy an interactive music session with your child, enjoy learning about beat, rhythm and pitch and develop your child’s social skills, language skills and confidence.

Anna also runs our Music Adventurers class for children with additional support needs, as well as teaching piano, voice and violin. To find out more or to enrol send a pm or call/text 07896689816

Spaces are limited.

tots

Go Kids

We are now taking enrolments for our new sessions of Go Kids Music Club. If your child enjoys singing and would like to learn some ukulele then pm me or text 07896689816 for more information. We restart on Thursday 10th January 4.30pm and Saturday 12th January at 11.15am

ADULT UKULELE GROUP

Our NEW adult ukulele group starts next Tuesday 15th January in the Life Church, 35 Moss Street Paisley from 7pm -8.30pm. First class only £5 Contact Diane on 07896689816 or send a PM to book a place

ladder to the stars

There’s something for everyone to enjoy in the latest programme of shows and events organised by Renfrewshire Leisure during the coming months.

Information about these cultural activities is contained in the newly-published free booklet, The Guide.

ladder to the stars

Renfrewshire Leisure will host a variety of theatre performances as part of Puppet Animation Festival. These performances during April include both puppet theatre and animated films.

New venues will be staging shows and events after Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Museum are closed for redevelopment.

The Out of Place programme features the User Not Found theatre performance in the Paisley Arts Centre café, on May 8 and the Dark Carnival Unplugged is performed in the Paisley Arts Centre grounds, on May 17.

The Guide also highlights a series of acting writing and directing workshops from In Motion Theatre Company.

Paisley Arts Centre will host the Scottish Alternative Music Awards on March 15 and 16, featuring live showcases, music industry seminars and workshops.

The Arts Centre will also be turned into a virtual reality, 3D playground as Paisley YMCA presents Synaethesia, on June 29.

Music fans have a variety of concerts to enjoy, including the Acoustic Beatles and Acoustic Eagles, on February 1; singer Mary Ann Kennedy, on April 27 and legendary piper, Fred Morrison, on May 14, all at Paisley Arts Centre.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure chief executive said: “There is something for everyone in the guide – from comedy acts to family shows, drama performances to traditional music along with interesting and informative exhibitions.”

The Guide can be picked up for free at Paisley Arts Centre, Renfrew and Johnstone Town Halls and Linwood’s Tweedie Hall or it can be downloaded from www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

To book any of the events log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/whats-on or call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or visit Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street, Paisley.

EVENT POSTER

Tickets officially went on sale today for RAMH’s 2019 annual fundraiser.

Join us on Friday 26th April 2019 at The Lynnhurst Hotel (8 Park Road, Johnstone, PA5 8LT) from 7.15pm – 1.00am for the RAMH Dinner & Dance: Proudly Sponsored by Bridge of Weir Leather.

EVENT POSTER

The evening will begin with a glamourous red carpet arrival and fizz reception, followed by a delicious three course meal and fantastic live entertainment as well as our raffle and auction. We are also delighted to welcome back broadcaster Vanessa Collingridge as host!

Tickets are currently available at an Early Bird Rate of £35pp until Monday 18th February. After this date, they will be full price at £40. Tables of 10 are available for a discounted rate of £350.

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🎶NEW MUSICAL TOTS CLASS 🎶
☀Age 1-3 years ☀

Starts next Saturday 12th January in Paisley at 9.15am with our tutor Anna Burns. Enjoy an interactive music session with your child, enjoy learning about beat, rhythm and pitch and develop your child’s

image002

social skills, language skills and confidence 🥁🎵

image001

Anna also runs our Music Adventurers class for children with additional support needs, as well as teaching piano, voice and violin. To find out more or to enrol send a pm or call/text 07896689816
Spaces are limited.

paisley town hall

THE final fling before Paisley Town Hall closed for a major refurbishment was of the Highland variety.

A sell-out Festive Family Ceilidh was the last event before the doors closed until the Town Hall re-opens in 2021 as a major venue attracting events and people to the town.

ceilidh

The festive ceilidh featuring traditional Scottish music and dancing has been a popular event for several years.

Victoria Hollows, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “There was no better way to celebrate both the end of the year and the Town Hall closing for renovation than to have a full-house of people enjoying themselves.

“And when the building re-opens there will be many more exciting events and shows taking place there to look forward to.”

The refurbishment of the Town Hall is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100 million investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.