After years of planning and negotiations, Forfar Dramatic Society is on course to stage its biggest production to date.
Members are hard at work upgrading their clubrooms in East High Street to turn it into a performance area which will be open to the public.
Treasurer Douglas Watt told us: “The premises were an old snooker hall with a shooting gallery in the basement. The electrics were on their last legs, the heating was antiquated and we had none of the services and safety features expected in an area open to the public.
“We therefore drew up plans to define what we would like to do given the limited funds available and applied for a building warrant, which was duly granted”.
The premises have been re-wired, fire alarms and smoke detectors have been installed and the heating system upgraded; new toilets have been installed and it is hoped the premises will be repainted this month.
Douglas continued: “The current phase of the project is expected to cost around £52,000 but that is just the start as we still need to get better seating and proper theatre lighting, which could easily run to another £30,000. In addition, there will be a substantial input from club members and other ‘volunteers’ to repaint, refurbish and decorate the performance area and the ancillary areas to make them acceptable to the paying public, although we do now have an Entertainment Licence so are ready to go once the work is completed.”
Grant funding totalling almost £38,000 has also been secured from the following: Angus Council Common Good Fund £31,483; James Scotland Trust £1500; J Alexander Trust £1000; Forfar Rotary Club £500 and Weir Charitable Trust £3330.
In 2012 the Society received £19,000 in grants from Angus Council Community Grant and the Climate Challenge Fund to dramatically upgrade the insulation within the building to make it practicable to undertake the current conversion into a public performance area
The society plans to stage its first performance in the new premises in September and is appealing to the public to come up with a name for the new theatre.
Suggestions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or pop them through the letterbox at 132 East High Street.