SCOTS stars of stage and screen turned out yesterday to launch an innovative fundraising campaign aimed at completing the transformation of a former cash and carry building into a new centre for creative talent.

Greg Hemphill of Still Game fame, former Taggart detective Blythe Duff, singer and actress Lorraine McIntosh, Julie Wilson Nimmo and Ian McDiarmid were among those at the event in Glasgow City Centre.

As well as launching the campaign to complete the finance for the National Theatre of Scotland’s new permanent home in the Speirs Wharf regeneration area of north east Glasgow, the name of the new building was announced.

Designed by Glasgow and Berlin-based Gareth Hoskins Architects Ltd, it is to be called Rockvilla in recognition of the industrial and social heritage of the canal-side area surrounding Speirs Wharf.

It was also revealed that Glasgow creative design studio Pidgin Perfect is the winner of a competition to create new artwork for the foyer of Rockvilla.

Actor Alan Cumming, who has been a major supporter of a permanent base for the NTS, provided the voice-over for a short film premiered at yesterday’s event and which is now being released online at nationaltheatrescotland.com to mark the launch of the campaign.


Construction work on site begins this month and is due to be completed by summer 2016.

Once complete, the new building will be a unique and major resource for the NTS and Scotland’s theatre industry. Providing 3700 sq. metres of space over two levels, there will be three rehearsal rooms of varying scales, creative development spaces, a learning and community suite, a working wardrobe facility, production workshop and technical store, office space, meeting room facilities and social areas. More than 3,000 people including writers, artists, school students, teachers and community participants are expected to use the facility each year, with the space being made available to emerging artists and small independent theatre companies.

However, while the total estimated project cost for the new building is £6.475m only £4.579m has already been secured.

To make up the shortfall the fundraising campaign has been launched using Pidgin Perfect’s design for a new NTS map. The map will stand in the entrance foyer, created from an ornate laser-cut sheet, into which bespoke, translucent “beacons” will be placed, aligning with significant features in the Scottish landscape: cities, towns, geographical or areas of particular cultural interest.

To raise the funds needed to complete the building, the NTS is inviting friends and supporters to light up their favourite part of Scotland by buying a beacon in the new map. Each beacon will represent a place chosen by a supporter. The beacons are to be made from cast acrylic resin and back lighting on the laser cut map will illuminate and bring out details embedded within them. A complementary key adjacent to the map, will list the places which have been lit up and acknowledge donors’ support.

While the physical map will remain in Rockvilla, its web-based counterpart will enable supporters to interact with the map from wherever they are in the world.

The digital version of the map means donors can light a beacon and send a message to Scotland that can be viewed online from anywhere.


The first documented use of the name Rockvilla was in an 1860 Ordnance Survey map, and it is likely that the name derives from the extensive quarrying industry that once existed in this area of Glasgow surrounding the canals.

Several local buildings and establishments have borne the name Rockvilla, notably Rockvilla School (demolished in 1996) and Rockvilla Church, which stands today on Saracen Street with its new name, Possilpark Parish Church. The wider area is referred to as Rockvilla Basin.

Laurie Sansom, NTS artistic director said the new building would be a “place of imagination, learning and play, not just for the National Theatre of Scotland but for the entire nation”.

“For the first time ever, we have the opportunity to create a space where we can bring together our company, our collaborators and all of our communities. We’re already 70 per cent of the way towards our income target.

“Now, every pound we raise will reduce our on-going costs so that more of our funding can go directly into creating new work, developing new talent and engaging communities.

“It’s a hugely exciting project and we’re looking forward to people from across Scotland joining us on this journey.”

Marc Cairns of Pidgin Perfect added: “Pidgin Perfect is excited to have been chosen from almost 50 entries to deliver this special commission for the National Theatre of Scotland. Our studio works across a variety of disciplines and will draw on imagination, technology and craft to create an eye-catching artwork for Rockvilla, that will acts a springboard for further fundraising activities.

“We are looking forward to engaging with the wide range of skills and expertise at National Theatre of Scotland to develop the artwork and create something that truly expresses the values and ambitions of the organisation.”