New city theatre is a 'glass' act

A FORMER church in Glasgow's West End is to be given a new lease of life as an arts venue.

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Landsdowne Parish Church, on Great Western Road, will come alive once again when it reopens as the city's newest theatre.

The church has been re-named Webster's Theatre and is part of a £4 million redevelopment which will include a theatre space, restaurant and bar.

It has been named after the designer of the church's stained glass, Glasgow artist Alf Webster (1883-1915).

Webster's has been developed under an arrangement between the Church of Scotland General Trustees, Four Acres Charitable Trust and SCENEgineering, a firm which provides custom-made scenery, props and sets for exhibitions, film and TV.

The same team developed Cottiers Theatre, previously Dowanhill Church, also in the West End, a project which has been hugely successful.

Pete Sneddon of SCENEgineering believes there is a market for the new theatre at Kelvinbridge.

He said: "There is a big demand for a theatre of this size in the West End.

"Cottiers has shown that. What we plan to do is utilise Cottier's as more of an event space, for concerts and weddings, which allows us to develop Webster's as a theatre complex."

Mr Sneddon added: "It's been a lot of work, but the result will be fantastic."

Landsdowne church, an A-listed Victorian Gothic revival church, built by John Honeyman in 1863, had fallen into disrepair.

Now, the building has been restructured and Webster's will offer a theatre space seating almost 190 people.

It's set to open its doors with the classic rock n'roll musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which is running at the venue from May 1-7.

Staged by Inside Out productions, it stars Britain's Got Talent success story Edward Reid as the mad dentist.

The restaurant and a bar area are still being developed.

Mr Sneddon added: "What we've done in Webster's is to box in the building and create a separate raised stage.

"The atmosphere should be great."

Webster's Theatre will run as a commercial concern.

Mr Sneddon added: "We have to bring in the right shows to make it work, but we're confident with the expertise we've built up with Cottier's, we can make sure Webster's is successful."

brian.beacom@eveningtimes.couk

Arts and Entertainment

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