PACE has revealed a summer programme of unique and varied in-person creative performance experiences for ages 3-21, performing both indoors and out.

The programme is brimming with exciting performance courses; from classic to contemporary texts, devising, physical theatre, comedy and musicals.  Make friends, take risks, learn new skills and make memories to last a lifetime.

Highlights include several site-specific outdoor productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Into the Woods and The Secret Garden; a strand of youth-led productions inspired by the climate crisis; devised and physical theatre performances; comedy and improv events; film-making and writing workshops; as well as musical theatre shows including Bugsy Malone and 13.

NB – photographs are from previous Fests prior to the introduction of social distancing or any other covid measures. 

We have been working hard to ensure young people can experience all of the social, educational and wellbeing benefits of our summer activities safely and in line with current covid guidance. PACE successfully re-introduced in person workshops for the Summer term, and has made a number of changes to capacities, introduced staggered start times, enhanced cleaning, ventilation and other procedures to minimise risk and all activities have been risk assessed in line with covid guidance for children’s activities, youth work and performance.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said:
We can’t wait to have our building buzzing with energy and creativity again this summer. We’re incredibly proud of the way the team adapted last year to deliver an online programme, but we really missed being able to see everyone in person.

During Fest! we see the young people who join us grow in confidence, as well as creating amazing performances, and this year more than ever it’s important that they have this opportunity to express themselves and to mix with their peers.”

The full programme can be viewed and booked online at

Details of Bursary and concessionary places are available on application.

The fundraising campaign for Exchange, a new community theatre in Paisley for children, young people and families, has taken another significant step forward as PACE welcomes prominent Paisley businessman Gary McCaw as its first Founding Sponsor.

The renovation of the previously disused building is expected to be a catalyst for the regeneration of the town centre area it sits at the heart of. Exchange will establish Renfrewshire as a visitor destination for children and young people’s theatre and it is estimated that this will increase visitors to Renfrewshire by over 80,000, providing a boost to the local economy by allowing businesses to thrive and increasing employment in the area.

Founding Sponsors will enjoy lifetime benefits including recognition on a specially engraved plaque in the foyer, regular updates on major milestones as plans progress, a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the construction site, invitations to opening events, press and gala nights and 20 complimentary tickets a year for Exchange productions for 3 years after opening.

Gary McCaw, whose business interests include the newly refurbished The Gleniffer hotel, said:

This is going to be a really exciting development for Paisley, and straight away I felt that it was something that I wanted to get involved with. The new theatre will be a game changer for the town, in my opinion, and a valuable resource for the whole community.”

Grant Mason, Chief Executive of said:
“We’re delighted to have Gary on board as our first Founding Sponsor and are very grateful to him for being an early backer. We want to make Paisley a major centre for theatre for children, young people & families but just as importantly we believe this will make a vital contribution to Renfrewshire’s reputation as a vibrant visitor destination.

To make the development happen, we still need further business support and we’d urge companies to get in touch to find out how they can be part of creating this fantastic legacy for the Paisley.”

PACE is seeking further local businesses to join in support of become one of 10 Founding Sponsors by pledging £10,000 each or one of 50 Founding Supporters by pledging £2,000. Payment can be made monthly over 3 years, in one lump sum or yearly. Smaller donations can also be made to Exchange by donating to PACE’s Million Pound Wall.

More information about the plans for Exchange and ways to help can be found at Find @exchangepaisley on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tiktok.

PACE Youth Theatre is delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Carers to create an exciting new project for young people in Renfrewshire. The project, supported by Creative Scotland’s Youth Arts Access Fund, aims to address the social isolation and lack of support faced by many young carers on a daily basis, and particularly this past year under Covid-19 restrictions.

With 74% of young carers reporting that they feel disconnected from friends and family due to lack of support and interaction outside of their household, PACE seeks to provide young people with an opportunity to connect with others in their community and support them to use their voices and share their experiences in a meaningful and positive way.

The project will launch with a series of creative workshops covering a variety of specialisms, and be followed by the creation of a final project that will be documented on film and shared at an event designed by the participants . Throughout the project, young people will have the chance to co-design, explore new creative skills and be supported to share their experiences and explore impactful ways of communicating their stories. Young people will be encouraged to lead on the direction of the project, allowing them to develop collaboration and leadership skills. Participants will also be offered bursary places to take part in PACE’s summer Fest! programme, to allow them to connect with PACE’s core work and meet new people.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE said:

We believe that these creative opportunities are crucial in addressing the emotional well-being and mental health of young people, who have been deeply affected by events of the past year.  By the end of this project the young people involved will not only have found ways to express and explore what is happening around us but will have created a legacy resource that can be shared and used to inform others about the challenges and experiences of young carers.”

The project is due to begin in Spring 2021.

Free music production and recording sessions, fully funded youth theatre places and gymnastics equipment for young people with physical, emotional or sensory impairments are just a few of the projects young people are set to benefit from as the winning projects were unveiled for Renfrewshire’s Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund 2020.

One of the only funds of its kind still operating in Scotland during the Coronavirus pandemic, it saw an incredible 86 projects imagined, designed and submitted by young people or community groups who work with 12-25-year olds.

More than 1,700 young people then cast 5,163 votes for their favourite projects as they took the lead role in the youth participatory budgeting fund at every stage in the process.

A fantastic £124,437 was awarded to 68 projects and these ideas will now be brought to life as opportunities and support for young people in Renfrewshire continue to grow.

Loud N Proud secured £6,000 to build on their 2019 project which saw young people given an introduction to song writing, and this year’s funding will now enable young musicians to record their tracks in a professional studio.

Tommy McGrory, Loud n Proud Manager, said: “We are very excited as this grant will mean that local young musicians will be able to get their songs recorded and produced to a professional level at the new Loud n Proud studios in Paisley.

“For young aspiring musicians getting their songs recorded is difficult due to the costs involved, so this will be a big stepping stone for them and they will get to work with a music producer who has 15 years’ experience working with young bands.

“Young musicians will learn how to mix and record with the support and training of a professional music producer and will take a piece of music from an idea to a finished product. This is a great opportunity to get free advice and use high-quality professional equipment to gain the key skills in music recording and production.”

Pace Youth Theatre were also successful with their application and received £4,000 as they look to provide free bursary places for local young people aged 3-21 whose financial circumstances, due to the impact of COVID-19 or otherwise, mean that they are unable to participate.

This will ensure all young people are able to see the benefits of youth theatre participation, which include improved confidence, mental wellbeing, communication skills, creative thinking and enhanced employment prospects.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said: “This is a real boost in enabling us to widen access to our work. The Celebrating Renfrewshire funds will go directly to assisting young people, allowing us to expand our Bursary Scheme and support more young people than has previously been possible.

“PACE focuses on developing and nurturing young creative talent, and creating opportunities for them to benefit educationally, socially and culturally from a varied programme of high-quality performing arts experiences. It’s really important to us that financial circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier to getting involved with these opportunities, and the Bursary Scheme is one of the ways in which we aim to achieve this.”

Another success story was Twist & Hit Cheerleaders, as they secured £1,685.82 to provide CHEER classes to disability groups in Renfrewshire.

Founder, Director & Head Coach Sarah McNeill, said: “The funds will be used to purchase new equipment that will support under 5s and those with physical, emotional and sensory impairments.

“We are the first cheerleading programme in Scotland to be offering CHEER classes to disability groups and this equipment will help us to facilitate the classes.

“This will change their lives as it gives them access to equipment and coaching that is not available anywhere else in Scotland.”

The announcement event was held online this year due to the current pandemic and more than 50 people attended as Renfrewshire Youth Voice (RYV) members unveiled the winners for each Local Partnership area.

Adrian McKechnie, Chair of Renfrewshire Youth Voice, said: “With the way 2020 has unfolded the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a much-needed source of hope and optimism for a number of young people.

“When we look back on this year, many of the Celebrating Renfrewshire applicants, such as community groups, charities and other third sector organisations, should do so with a great sense of pride knowing that when their communities needed them the most they stepped up to the mark.

“Over the past two years, the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a significant step forward in terms of empowering young people to make decisions that have and will continue to influence the community around them.

“I sincerely hope the successes of applicants from last year coupled with those of this year will serve as a legacy to inspire other young people to effect change in their community.”

The fund was facilitated by Renfrewshire Council’s Community Planning and Youth Services teams as they engaged with and supported young people to apply, as well as assisting RYV to run the announcement event online.

Councillor Michelle Campbell, Renfrewshire Council’s Young Persons Champion, opened the event and said: “What a fantastic event as young people from across Renfrewshire got the chance to receive funding which will make a real difference to the way they live their lives in Renfrewshire.

“I’m continually amazed by the new and exciting ideas that our young people bring forward and the ability they have to turn them into reality, so I look forward to seeing all the winning projects come to fruition.

“It’s important that those who weren’t successful this time though aren’t disheartened, and I would encourage them to get in touch with our teams at the council who will support them to find alternative ways to bring their ideas to life.”

All unsuccessful projects can contact Engage Renfrewshire via for support to apply for other funding opportunities.

The fund was supported by Young Scot throughout, including the voting process taking place through their online system, and they were quick to praise the efforts of Renfrewshire Council to support young people.

Gavin Crosby, Young Scot Local Partnership Development Manager, said: “Young Scot was thrilled to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Youth Voice on the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund.

“Together, we successfully used our Young Scot online participatory budgeting system and the pages to support local young people to have their voices heard.

“Renfrewshire’s approach, particularly during restrictions, is inspiring – and Young Scot looks forward to supporting exciting projects such as this in the future.”

For more information, including a full list of the winning projects, visit

ACTOR Chris Alexander is swapping New York for New Street, in Paisley to take the role of the Dame in this year’s PACE panto, Snowhite.

Scots-born Chris performed in New York as part of Ramesh Meyyappan’s production of Butterfly, which was part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, at the 59E59 Theatre, in Manhattan, last year.

And earlier this year, Chris was back in the USA with the same production – an adaptation of Madame Butterfly – staged in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

But the Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street will be Chris’s stage from November 25 until December 30 when he stars in the Snowhite panto.

Also appearing in the panto, written and directed by Ross Stenhouse are professional actors Chloe Lupton, as Snowhite; Dani Heron, as the Evil Queen; Danny Holmes, as The Prince and Nathan Byrne, taking the comic lead.

And of course, there will also be 100 local youngsters who are members of PACE, taking part in the hilarious adaptation of the traditional panto.

Tickets only recently went on sale and already more than half the seats have been snapped up.
The show is produced by PACE panto stalwart, Alan Orr who also takes on the role of musical director.
Alan said: “Everyone at PACE is working their socks off to make this the biggest and best panto we’ve ever done.

“We’ll be performing a magical, fun-filled family show with laughter every step of the way and loads of audience participation.

“Our Dame, Chris Alexander is a very experienced actor and is a really funny guy. He’s got natural comic timing and has experience performing in panto many times before.”

Tickets, priced from £9.50p are available from the Arts Centre Box Office, by logging on or by calling 0300 300 1210., Paisley leading community focused website founded by Brian McGuire has announced its full support and backing of Paisley Community Trust’s proposed plans for a new Performing Arts and Film Theatre for the Town.
As part of a series of early stage discussions, first draft designs of the Trust’s proposed Performing Arts and Film Theatre have been shared with key stakeholders

in the Town. The plans, created by award winning architects Stallan Brand, outline the Trust’s proposals for a new state of the art community facility featuring a flexible main theatre, secondary studio theatre, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, dance studios, several unique cinema spaces as well as bar and restaurant facilities.


Paisley Community Trust carried out a comprehensive feasibility study into the project and identified an overwhelming market demand for such a facility in the town. At present a number of sites have been shortlisted with a preferred option emerging.

Final plans are set to be publicly unveiled in September 2017. “We were delighted to be approached by Paisley Community Trust to review their plans for the newly proposed Cinema and Theatre for the town. What can we say, we were blown away with what we saw! The designs look amazing. Having been a massive supporter of the town and with close relationships to the communities, we have a fairly good idea of what people are looking for and what the town needs. The Trust’s plans are exactly what the town needs. It will put Paisley back on the cultural map, not just locally but nationally. It will attract people and communities back into use the town.

You’ll be able to take part in a variety of classes or to catch a movie or a show. There is no doubt this will provide the transformation the town needs. Community groups, Council and Paisley Buddies need to get behind the Trust’s vision. We’re in!”

Brian McGuire, Founder,

“ is without doubt one of the key websites for Paisley. They work closely with the town, businesses and community.

They have their finger on the pulse when it comes to what the town needs. We were nervous in showing them because we really respect their knowledge, however we shouldn’t have been. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Their backing and support confirms the need in the town for what we are planning. We’ve agreed that will be one of our key partners in engaging and discussing with the town’s communities. We’re delighted to share a teaser image for to exclusively publish with more news to come!”

Gary Kerr, Chairman, Paisley Community Trust

A sell–out crowd of 500 people watched 16 awards presented at the ROCCO’s on Friday 18th Nov at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew – the annual business awards of  Renfrewshire Chamber.

The area’s premier business event, now in its thirteenth year was sponsored by Paisley 2021 for UK City of Culture.   Chamber President Audrey Cumberford (Chief exec & Principal of West College Scotland) gave a warm welcome to the audience and highlighted the chambers successes in the last 12 months. She emphasised the opportunity for Renfrewshire with record investment planned via the Glasgow City Region City Deal and the potential of winning the City of Culture bid.  Council Leader Mark Macmillan gave the main sponsor address and urged companies and individuals alike to hit the “back the bid” button via the 2021 website. Paisley’s own megastar Paolo Nutini had a video message for the audience to encourage their support and the difference culture can make for young people was highlighted by Street Stuff’s Ben Milne & Mark Kerr. Rocco favourite Fred MacAulay hosted and was impressed by the performances of 3 piece girl group Loxi, Singer Lisa Kowalski and an energetic 2021 themed piece by Pace Theatre Co.  The ROCCO raffle raised £8,000 for local charities and good causes with St Vincent’s Hospice and Street Stuff Culture Bus Project the main charities of the year.


ROCCO Award for Excellence in Customer Services – Sponsored by Scottish Leather Group

Winner – intu Braehead


ROCCO Award for Enterprise in Education – Sponsored by University of the West of Scotland

Winner – DirectDevitt Comedy Management & Productions CIC


ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology – Sponsored by Hillington Park

Winner – Rolls-Royce


ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – Sponsored by

Winner- Diageo


ROCCO Award for International Trade – Sponsored by Glasgow Airport

Winner – Bridge of Weir Leather


ROCCO Award for Invest in Renfrewshire – Sponsored by Invest in Renfrewshire

Winner – I Am Me Scotland


ROCCO Award for Most Promising New Business – Sponsored by Business Gateway

Winner – PowerTek


ROCCO Award for Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business – Sponsored by Paisley Daily Express

Winner – Origins Fitness


ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year – Sponsored by The Malcolm Group

Winner – Stafffinders


ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year – Sponsored by West College Scotland

Winner – Fraser Gordon, The Detailing Factory


ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Rolls-Royce

Winner – Boston Networks


ROCCO Award for Community Champion – Sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & RBS

Winner – Active Communities


ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business <5 FTE – Sponsored by intu Braehead

Winner – Kenneth Keegan Independent Funeral Directors


ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business 5<25 FTE – Sponsored by Renfrewshire Council

Winner – Braehead Clan

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 FTE – Sponsored by Clyde Marine Training

Winner – Glasgow Airport


ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year – Sponsored by DIAGEO

Winner – Andrew Malcolm, MD The Malcolm Group


Commenting on the awards, Chamber chief executive Bob Grant said “a huge thank you to all our sponsors, those who donated prizes for our raffle and a hearty congratulations to all the finalists and winners.  Our 13th ROCCO was lucky for 16 winners and a great success.  You can view all images on the chamber Facebook page and comments on #2016Rocco.  I encourage all Rocco winners to utilise their win across their PR channels. Thank you to the entire Chamber team for all their work before and on the night to ensure our 500 guests had a great time.  Special thanks to principle sponsor Paisley 2021, Diageo who supplied our drinks reception, Cameron Presentations & Gap TV for all the AV, The Printbrokers for the program, Gary from NS Design for the excellent social media coverage and Normandy Hotel for a tasty meal. Finally thanks to Loxi, Lisa Kowalski and Pace Theatre Co. for entertaining us so well. Planning for Rocco 2017 is already underway and we hope to see you enter and attend next year

One of Paisley’s favourite musical daughters is returning to the town to play this year’s Spree festival…and she’s bringing some friends with her.

Carol Laula pours a pint for Saporito owners Gary McCaw and Craig Bickett in the new Saporito High Street restaurant

Carol Laula will open The Spree festival on Friday 14 October with a very special ‘celebration of Paisley’ in a Spiegeltent in the town’s County Square.

The festival, now in its fifth year, will run from 14-22 October with music, comedy, drama, film and kids activities programmed throughout its nine-day run.

Appearing with Carol in her show will be ex-River City star Tom Urie; David Scott (formerly of The Pearlfishers and BMX Bandits); Mark and Claire Rafferty, relatives of the legendary Gerry Rafferty; and Carol’s core backing band, which boasts a wealth of Scottish talent.

Special guest appearances on the night from PACE Youth Theatre Company and St Mirren Football Club promise to make the show a unique celebration of Paisley.

Carol said: “I am beyond delighted and excited to have been commissioned to put on a show for the opening night of the Spree festival.

“The remit is to celebrate all things Paisley. Easy-peasy… but where do I start?

“There will be a mix of Paisley’s rich culture of drama, music, acting and even a wee bit of literature in there too.”

Tickets for the show are available to buy online from; from the Box Office on 0300 300 1210; or in person from Paisley Arts Centre or the InCube Shop at 9b Gilmour Street.

Other acts appearing at the festival include Admiral Fallow, Donnie Munro, Treacherous Orchestra, Skerryvore, Roddy Woomble, Daniel Sloss and Craig Hill.

The Spree is supported by Saporito and Birra Moretti.

A delegation representing Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 met with an audience of parliamentarians, business leaders, media and key cultural figures in the House of Commons today (Tuesday  6 September).

PACE Youth Theatre group who performed at the Paisley 2021 Parliamentary Reception

Members of the Paisley 2021 bid team, accompanied by a group from PACE Youth Theatre, joined Renfrewshire MPs, Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, in hosting a celebration of Paisley – Scotland’s largest town, at Westminster.

A large audience were treated to a performance from PACE and listened to speakers detail the strength of Paisley’s bid and the town’s drive for UK City of Culture 2021.

The group, led by Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, and Paisley 2021 Bid Director, Jean Cameron, are the first delegation representing any of the locations bidding for the UK City of Culture accolade – run by the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to hold such an event at the House of Commons.

Town leaders believe that the bid for UK City of Culture 2021 will help to transform Paisley future by using its unique cultural heritage as the home of the Paisley Pattern and one-time centre of the global textile industry, to attract tourism investment as well as promote further job growth and economic stability across all of Renfrewshire.

The bid will harness the power of culture to tackle deep-rooted poverty in communities identified as the most deprived in Scotland, and will place the artistic community at the heart of the town’s cultural, social and economic transformation. There is already widespread grass roots support for the bid.

The bid is just one part of Renfrewshire Council’s plans for the wider regeneration of Paisley and Renfrewshire, including the £56.7m refurbishment of Paisley Museum and a number of projects being delivered as part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal – worth £274m to Renfrewshire.

Jean Cameron, Bid Director for Paisley 2021, said: “The opportunity to bid for the UK City of Culture title in 2021 has ignited a new conversation about Paisley and we are seeing a real surge in support for our bid, highlighted by the level of interest shown in our story in London.

“Culture means different things to different people but the role it has to play in our lives is profound and important to everyone – helping us to reach our fullest potential while finding joy in the experience. Paisley has a proud heritage and a vibrant cultural scene, which will be boosted further by the international spotlight which would accompany being UK City of Culture in 2021.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “Paisley and its surrounding areas, like many towns and cities, has challenges to face but we are confident that we can tackle those head on. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has tended to award UK City of Culture status to a place which has a clear plan to use the title to transform its fortunes – there is a proven link between culture and well-being and we want to use the power of that to make people’s lives better.

“Paisley has much to offer and there are few places of similar size with the same depth of tradition, heritage, talent and passion for improvement.

“We are committed to building a better future for all of Renfrewshire and there is a great sense of positivity across the region that we can achieve that goal. The presentation delivered in London underlines the pedigree of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and the feedback we received gives us confidence going into the next stage of the bid process.”

Renfrewshire MPs Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands were joint hosts of the event which took place in the Strangers’ Dining Room in the House of Commons.

Mhairi Black MP, said: “I’m immensely proud to represent Paisley and Renfrewshire South in Parliament and never more so than today as the Paisley 2021 team and PACE did a fantastic job of showcasing what my home town has to offer. We have shown that Paisley’s bid is a serious and more than worthy contender to win the right to become UK City of Culture 2021.”

Gavin Newlands MP, added: “Being born in Paisley, it’s easy for me to feel a strong connection to the town. Today’s event has shown people here in London the extent of Paisley’s ambitions and strength to be able to deliver those aims, and change the future for some of the country’s most deprived children. Paisley is the home of the world renowned Paisley Pattern and it deserves to be as equally well known for nurturing the talent and passion of all its young people, some of whom did their town proud today.”

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017, with the winner announced in Autumn 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

A group of eight young people from Paisley’s PACE Youth Theatre are on their way to London to wow Westminster as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

PACE Youth Theatre group who will be travelling to London to support Paisley 2021. Included are David Wallace, founder of PACE, and Mhairi Gilbert, director of the performance which the group will deliver in Westminster

The group set off on their way today (Tuesday 6th September), making the first leg of their journey in the official Paisley 2021 taxi.

The young performers will accompany Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the 2021 Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, and Bid Director, Jean Cameron, to a special reception at the House of Commons, attended by parliamentarians, business leaders and key cultural figures.

Hosted by Renfrewshire MPs Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, the event will promote Paisley’s Untold Story and showcase the strength of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The group from PACE, the youth theatre which started the careers of Paolo Nutini, James McAvoy, and new star of Hollyoaks Amy Conachan, among many others, will put on a specially commissioned performance that will tell Paisley’s story and share what makes the town – Scotland’s largest, so special.

Paisley’s bid and journey to 2021 will harness the power of culture to tackle deep-rooted poverty in communities identified as the most deprived in Scotland, and will place the artistic community at the heart of the town’s cultural, social and economic transformation.

The bid will celebrate the town’s internationally significant cultural and textile heritage, home to the world famous Paisley Pattern and one of the UK’s original creative industries – thread making and weaving, and will be used to attract tourism investment as well as promote further job growth and economic stability across all of Renfrewshire.

The Paisley delegation is the first representing any of the locations bidding for the UK City of Culture title to hold such an event at the House of Commons.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “Being home to PACE Youth Theatre, one of the largest youth theatres in the UK, is just one of the many jewels in Renfrewshire’s cultural crown. Our bid is all about changing perceptions of Paisley at home and abroad and changing local aspirations and ambition. The passion and talent displayed by our young people performing here today epitomises the Paisley spirit and is a driving force behind our bid”

“I’m sure everybody involved will do the town proud and will help to convince our guests that Paisley deserves to become UK City of Culture 2021.”

Abby, aged 17, is one of the members of PACE Youth Theatre who is making the trip to London. She said: “We are really excited to be representing Paisley 2021 at such an important event. Paisley is my town and being able to play a part in helping to spread the word about how much culture there is here in Paisley and Renfrewshire is great.”

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017, with the winner announced in Autumn 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

Thousands of people turned out for 16 cultural events across Renfrewshire, held as part of the Paisley 2021 Weekend.

Paisley’s Diversity Carnival in Barshaw Park

Held on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August, the Paisley 2021 Weekend brought together diverse cultural events taking place all over Renfrewshire in support of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

The cultural extravaganza showcased the broad depth and range of cultural activity which flourishes across the region throughout the year. Locals and visitors were spoiled for choice over both days, with live music, open-mic sessions, dance performances, gala days, an Afro-Caribbean carnival and the increasingly famous Pride of Paisley lions just some of the offering which took place.

Highlights included the culmination of Paisley Music Week, with an impromptu performance by Paolo Nutini surprising unsuspecting gig goers at The Cave. The star treated the crowd to a rendition of his hit, Pencil Full of Lead, to show support for Paisley Music Week and the Paisley 2021 Weekend.

The weekend saw dozens of other Paisley Music Week performances across the town, including an appearance by local song writer, Lisa Kowalski, during half-time of St Mirren FC’s match at the Paisley 2021 Stadium. The diversity of Paisley’s cultural and music scene was underlined when a choir of Syrian children took part in Saturday’s Loud ‘n’ Proud Busking Day

Local boy Tom Potter, UK Young Drummer of the Year, had County Square shaking and rocking when he took centre stage at the Drum Jam on Saturday.

Members of dates ‘n’ Mates participating in the Drum Jam in County Square

Those looking for a more relaxing, yet no less creative, cultural experience took part in the PACE Massive Weekend, which delivered two-full days of workshops, catering for all ages. The taster sessions proved popular, with PACE receiving more than 30 enquiries from local people looking to join the group.

Children taking part in one of the many PACE sessions

The always popular gala days in Johnstone, Erskine and Brookfield Village saw big turn-outs from local communities looking to enjoy a day of family fun.

The Dates ‘n’ Mates touring bus was also a hit with a number of new people contacting the team to find out about the range of friendship services, creative workshops and volunteering opportunities which the initiative offers.

Scottish and Afro-Caribbean culture was celebrated in Barshaw Park during Paisley’s Diversity Carnival, with the drums, dancing and masquerade going down a storm despite the typically Scottish weather.

A record number of people, more than 2,800, pulled on their trainers to take part in the Paisley 2021 Weekend when they completed the Paisley 10k and Fun Run on Sunday.

Jean Cameron, Bid Director for Paisley 2021, said: “We’d like to thank all the event organisers and people who took part across Renfrewshire to make the Paisley 2021 Weekend a big success.

“The number diversity and popularity of the events which took place in Paisley and all over the region exemplify just how strong our cultural offering is. Engaging local communities and encouraging them to become involved in and enjoy cultural activities is a key aim of our Paisley 2021 bid.

“The Paisley 2021 Weekend is just a snapshot of the cultural activity that occurs in Paisley and Renfrewshire throughout the year but it did a brilliant job of showcasing what we have to offer. Culture means different things to different people but across all the events, there was one clear commonality; the smiling faces, enjoyment and excitement which people were experiencing.”

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021aims to transform the town and Renfrewshire’s future by using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

A pride of colourful lions will be the ‘mane’ attraction in Paisley from this weekend as the town’s first-ever public arts trail gets ready to roar into life.

PACE Theatre Group members Orla Morrow, Erin Lafferty and Rebecca Russell with some of the lions.

The 25 creatively-designed lion sculptures which make up the Pride of Paisley will showcase the town’s heritage and history by merging colour, art and creativity to draw visitors, shoppers and tourists.

Streets around the town will become a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to business regeneration group Paisley First’s bold and unique project, taking place as part of the push towards the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

colourful painted life-size lion sculptures created as part of the biggest public art project in PaisleyÕs history. The Pride of Paisley Wild in Art Project is taking place as part of the townÕs bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and has seen 25 lions – inspired by popular Paisley Museum exhibit Buddy the Lion Ð created and individually painted by local artists and schools.

Paisley already boasts some incredible architecture, including Paisley Abbey and the Thomas Coats Memorial Baptist Church, as well as a respected live music scene, a burgeoning cafe culture and a history steeped in the rich tapestry of its thread mills and weaving.

Now the team at Paisley First, led by Andrew Mitchell, manager of Business Improvement District (BID), hope to see people flooding in from far and wide to take a look at the kings of the jungle – and the town itself – until September 25.

Public arts trails like this have been a roaring success, with Wild At Art events elsewhere in the UK bringing a boost in shopping centre footfall by around 25 per cent, a sales hike of almost 20 per cent and a 39 per cent increase in the number of visitors.

Andrew said: “Fantastic projects similar to ours have brought many benefits to places like Aberdeen, Hamilton and Norwich in the past.

“We know our incredible lions will be popular with people, bring them to Paisley and keep them coming back for more.

“These are exciting times for Paisley with the bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 and we are confident people will come to the town to see our lions and have their eyes opened to all of the wonderful things the town centre and surrounding area has to offer.”

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 Bid Director, said: “The Pride of Paisley is already capturing hundreds of people’s imaginations, from the schoolchildren, businesses and artists already involved in the project.

“It’s a great chance for everybody to get round the town, discover their favourite lion, and really see the town as they’ve never seen it before.”

Community is at the heart of the lions project and the heritage trail will raise money for Accord Hospice in Paisley and St Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood.
At the end of the event, the Pride of Paisley lions will be auctioned and all profits will go to these facilities.

The trail is an exciting thing for all the family to experience and over the 12 weeks, people young and old can enjoy these kings of the jungle in all their glory as they take up home in the streets and open spaces of Paisley.

Forty eye-catching mini lion sculptures designed by school pupils across Renfrewshire will add to the trail’s sense of fun and community.

You will be able to see these taking pride of place in local businesses throughout summer, before they return to the schools after the summer break.

PACE Theatre Company, a registered charity working closely with young people, schools and national organisations, was set up in Paisley back in 1988.

Executive director David Wallace, who started PACE, is heavily involved in the Pride of Paisley as the Project Leader.

David said: “At PACE, we take great pride in helping to develop young people’s creative potential and this public art trail will help do just that – and more – for Paisley.

“I would encourage people living here to become tourists in their own town by getting out there to follow the trail. And I’d say to anyone who has never visited before to come along and discover everything the town has to offer.”

The big launch kicks off in County Square at 11am with a performance by PACE Theatre Company, followed by Lion Fish Stilt Walkers at 11.20am and Black Eagles Acrobats at noon.

From 12.30pm the RockUs Choir will perform for half an hour before the stilt walkers and acrobats bring things to a close around 3pm. There will also be face painting from 11am until 2pm and miniature lion painting from 11am to 2pm at The Piazza.

The art trail’s headlining sponsors are: West College Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Renfrewshire Leisure, The Piazza, Paisley First, Paisley 2021 and PACE Theatre Company.

Find out more about our sponsors by visiting

More information on Paisley’s bid for UK CIty of Culture 2021 is at