Eastgate to raise £80,000 for ahead of 20th anniversary

Chairperson Fran Swift told company members at an upbeat annual general meeting on Sunday (December 3) that the theatre was “a bit like a phoenix”.

She said: “It’s been through tricky times, but it always comes back. And despite some difficulties whoever comes in through these doors is bound to be struck by the warmth, energy, friendliness, and buzzing creativity of the place.”

Members formally approved the new six board of directors, co-opted in October following the resignation of the previous board at a company general meeting the previous month after warnings of a “perilous” financial situation.

Ms Swift acknowledged “a slightly delicate position” and announced a Hands Up for the Eastgate appeal, with target of £80,000 over next three months.

She said: “Your money will help the theatre recruit an additional member of staff, train and support the Eastgate’s large group of volunteers, strengthen the performance programme, and increase the range of creative classes open to anyone who wants to learn, feel good and have fun. and will enable us to provide further training and support to our incredible volunteers.”

Meanwhile, a recruitment drive is under way to appoint a marketing officer and a projects manager. Full details of the new posts can be found online at eastgatearts.com/vacancies/.

The theatre is also looking to fill up to six vacancies on the volunteer board of directors. Anyone interested should speak to theatre staff.

Ms Swift thanked Caroline Adam, theatre manager for 15 years until her retirement last autumn. Ms Adam has returned on a temporary and part-time basis “to steady the ship, support the staff and help us the new board start tackling the challenges ahead”.

She said: “We now look forward to a vibrant and exciting programme for 2024 with a creative team full of aims and ambitions for the 20th anniversary. It’s a great opportunity to bring people together with lots of fresh events.”

A new brochure featuring a wide variety of events at the theatre during the first three months of the coming year will be published next week.

Contributions to the Hands Up for the Eastgate appeal can be made with card, cash or cheque at the Box Office, or online at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/eastgatearts.

Eastgate Theatre opened after a community campaign to establish a theatre for Peeblesshire. By the early 2000s campaigners had started a huge fundraising drive to transform a former church into a professional arts centre. Shortly after opening in the spring of 2004, it was nominated as a finalist for the BBC design awards.

Alongside a professional workforce, a large team of volunteers stages more than 200 events and performances every year, as well as a range of weekly creative classes for all age groups and abilities.