Eastgate £30,000 cash boost

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PEEBLES’ Eastgate Theatre has received a £30,000 boost from Creative Scotland.

And repayments on big loans to the theatre in its early days have been dropped after the money was handed over as gifts.

The Creative Scotland grant will go to developing new initiatives and the theatre plans a week-long festival for children and an outreach project with the theme of horses.

Theatre general manager Caroline Adam said: “We are excited by the prospect of developing new projects as we approach our ninth year in business and currently look forward to another busy season.”

The festival for children and young people is planned for the October holidays to attract locals and visitors. Festival-goers will take part in creative activities such as circus skills, art, singing, drama and comedy. And Eastgate staff will be joined by members of Scottish Youth Theatre, Borders Youth Theatre, Catherine Wheels Theatre Company and others to provide coaching and direction leading to performances for youngsters and their families.

The horses project will combine several skills and interests.

A theatre spokesperson said: “The Borders boasts more horses per head of population than any other part of Scotland and has a history of horsemanship going back centuries – including reiving, riding the marches, and using horses for farming and forestry.

“The project team will be visiting several locations throughout the Borders to gather material, which will then be turned into a special installation at the theatre later in the year.”

The theatre used other recent grant funding from the James McLean Trust to offer workshops to the children in the Tweeddale Support Unit at Halyrude Primary School in Peebles, which led to them performing The Gingerbread Man at the Eastgate.

Otherwise the theatre’s new season includes the recently launched ‘Peebles Proms’.

Ms Adam said: “Part of this was the performance of the ballet, Romeo and Juliet which was our first live feed from Covent Garden, which generated an air of excitement.”