Paisley’s transformed Town Hall has been officially reopened with a unique musical celebration of the building’s history helping ring in a new era for the much-loved landmark.
The A-listed Victorian town hall has been turned into one of the finest entertainment venues in Scotland after a five-year refurbishment led by Renfrewshire Council.
And the building tonight hosted its first performance since the transformation – a community-led showcase inspired by the restored chimes in the building’s clock tower.
Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was on hand to kick-off the event by performing a short ceremony to unveil a plaque officially marking the town hall reopening.
The audience of around 150 invited guests enjoyed performances from singer-songwriters Carol Laula and Tom Urie, and from musician Deborah Shaw alongside community performers who took part in the Chime Project – Art Boss Young Producers, Gateway Service, Sewing2gether All Nations, Shortroods Out of School Care, and Rockus Community Choir.
There was also a showcase of the town’s theatrical talent, with excerpts from Paisley playwright’s Karen Herbison’s ‘Escape to the Moon’, and PACE Theatre Company performing John Byrne’s ‘Cuttin a Rug’ – a play set in the town hall and whose characters some of the building’s rooms are now named after.
The event was the first chance for people to enjoy the sounds of the newly-restored carillon (the instrument which controls the bells), which means the town hall chimes can now be programmed to play a range of tunes.
The restoration of the chimes was delivered with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.
Provost Cameron said: “As a proud Paisley Buddie myself, I am thrilled to see the town hall back in use, and it was an honour to be able to mark that occasion on behalf of the people of Renfrewshire.
“Local residents will all have their own special memories of the building from years gone by – the work done to it not only keeps that alive but means future generations can do the same.
“Tonight’s performance was the perfect way to show that off. We have put investment in culture and heritage at the heart of our wider work to change the area’s future – and this event showcased the wonderful talent that exists among Renfrewshire’s thriving creative community.”
The event was programmed by the arts team at OneRen – the local charitable trust providing culture, leisure and sporting opportunities to help people live lives that are healthy, happy and fulfilled, who will operate the reopened venue.
Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of OneRen added: “Paisley Town Hall has been the centrepiece of life in the town for more than 140 years and the work done here will keep it there for many more.
“The transformation of the building has been incredible – the town hall has been turned into a 21st-century facility while retaining the 19th-century architectural features people know and love.
“The town hall will be Paisley’s big stage, home to a year-round programme of events and performances in the town hall which will help drive new footfall to the town, day and night.”
Tonight’s event was specially staged to help test out the operation of the building ahead of the first public events taking place over the coming weeks.
That will include a special performance by Paisley Opera of Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’ – set in 1970s Paisley – with support from the Scottish Opera orchestra and local dance group Right2Dance, on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October.
The town hall will then be the main venue for the Royal National Mòd - Scotland’s largest celebration of Gaelic language and culture – when it comes to Paisley between 13 and 21 October.
On Saturday 4 November it will host an all-night party bringing together top DJs Optimo and Bicep, which sold out within hours of going on sale this week.
Tickets are also now on sale via the OneRen box office for a special festive concert performance of the classic fairytale Hansel and Gretel by Scottish Opera on 14 to 16 December.
Paisley Town Hall was opened in 1882, and stands as a monument to the town’s rich history as a centre of global textile production, having been gifted to the town by George Aitken Clark of the thread-mill-owning Clark family.
The transformation includes a complete redesign by leading Scottish architects Holmes Miller. Key features include:
The town hall will be the first of several cultural venue investments currently being delivered by the council to open. That also includes:
As well as being a striking venue for concerts and performances, the town hall will also be available for weddings, conferences and other events. For more information on how to hire the venue: www.oneren.org/venue-hire/cultural-venues/paisley-town-hall/
Please Support Us
As a charity, our services help people live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. A donation to Renfrewshire Leisure will help us continue to provide charitable services across our communities.