lottery dream comes true underneath The Arhes

The Arches Theatre in Glasgow is to receive 23.5 million from the National Lottery Board at the Scottish Arts Council, which will fund major improvements and allow it to build on its impressive record.

In six years, the grade A listed building, situated beneath seven vaulted railway arches in the city centre, has been transformed into a vibrant cultural centre. Last year, it attracted 100,000 people to events encompassing theatre, comedy, club nights and live music.

The grant will go towards a £5.5 million development programme including a new entrance, development of the basement area beneath the present space and a new heating and ventilation system.

A planned foyer and box-office

entrance onto Argyle Street should dramatically raise the venue’s profile and its present floor space will effectively be doubled.

‘This is tremendous news,’ said The Arches’ founder and artistic director Andy Arnold. ‘We started with nothing six years ago and it has been a struggle at times, but the atmosphere of the place kept us going.’

The grant is dependent on the theatre raising the remaining funds from other sources. ‘This is an extraordinary building and makes a great contribution to the arts in Glasgow,’ added Arnold. ‘All we have to do now is raise the additional £2 million.’

Arnold hopes the funding will help turn The Arches into one of the UK’s most dynamic arts centres. Additional

facilities are planned, allowing a wider range of daytime events, exhibitions, workshops and multi- media projects to take place.

Existing problems will be addressed with major damp treatment and improvement of heating and ventilation, while the basement will house dressing rooms, a rehearsal space, and a wardrobe area.

The Arches’s reputation for bringing a younger clientele to arts events will be enhanced, according to Douglas Gonnell, chairman of the SAG’s lottery committee.

He commented: ‘I am delighted that The Arches Theatre will be able to develop its facilities. The theatre is a real focus for young people and introduces a new audience to the arts.’ (Stephen Haysmith)

Arnold: lottery winner

Hedcell: true colours from DJ Mark Hyal

Labour’s bid for club credibiliEys

The Scottish Labour P2

unasharrred bid for the yotrth vote. by agreeing to sponsor a cltrb night at Glasgow's Sub Club.

The party's logo will appear on llyers and posters for the established Thursday night slot whiclt is known as Rl’dt't’l/ ~ although sonre might feel ‘hard sell' was trrore appropriate.

Not so. according to Paul Fagin. Rot/cell‘s promotions manager: ‘There will be no preaching whatsoever - this is purely a sponsorship deal. It is the first time any cltrb in Britain has been sponsored by a political party.‘

However RUl/(‘t'fl l)Js do support the party. he said. ‘We support their policies. and they feel that they are buying into the youth market. It is really good for both of us.‘

Opinion polls have shown young voters to be apathetic and disinterested in the coming election. Labour clearly see the cltrbs move as a natural successor to the ’5’3Red Wedge’fl campaign ofthe l98()s which saw Billy Bragg and Paul Weller leading a doomed bid for the youth vote.

Labour‘s involvement in what The List called ‘one of the deepest darkest underground club nights irr Scotland‘ will begin in two to three weeks. it remains to be seen whether playing the cltrb card will turn out to be an ace for the party. (Stephen Naysmith)

Confident Mayfest programme shrugs off cuts

Plans for Glasgow‘s fifteenth Mayfest have been announced with an upbeat advance programme mixing the home- grown and the international with an unashamedly political slant.

Tickets are now on sale for more than a dozen theatre. opera and dance events liberally scattered with UK artd world premieres.

A reduction of ten per cent in the Mayfest budget due to council cutbacks ltas been shrugged off. The loss was tirade easier to bear by a recent grant from the European Regional Development ftrnd which will contribute towards marketing costs. ()rganisers are bidding to improve on last year's overall attendance of lot),()()().

Due to the illness of director Paul Bassett. this year's programme was selected by David Macl.ennan. one of the founders of the annual arts festival.

Among the highlights. Compania Antonio (lades. the dance company which had a hit with ('urntwr last year. return with l’uwrMore/mm. Based on a Lope de Vega story about the overthrow of tyranny in a village of the same name. it is described by Mayfest as ‘a good old Spanish bodice-ripper".

A new play by Hector MacMillan. A (iron/yr 'Iimrm'mrr'. continues the

Spanish link. retelling the story of the men and wortren of the west of Scotland who left homes. families and

jobs to join the light against Fascism irt

the Spanish (‘ivil War.

Resurrection. the uncompromisirthy experirrrental opera ‘event‘ by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. receives a UK premiere. and African touring dance cotnpany Les Ballets Africains blend music. dance and mime in Heritage.

The art of the clown also makes the transition from Big Top to theatre itr .S'rmws/rmr by Russian clown Slava Polunin.

Although the show has already featured at the Edinburgh Festival. this will be the full version. ‘Edinburgh‘s Assembly Rooms were not big enough

for them to do the really big spectacles.' Mayfest spokesman Marek Kolodziej explained. ‘There are some amazingly spectacular effects.’

The Mayfest Club at the Old

Fruitrrtarket has rapidly established itself as a cornerstone of the programme and returns this year. ‘It looks dramatic and has a nice cabaret atmosphere.‘ he added.

Although Kolodziej admitted early

bookings for the venue (.‘raig McMurdo and Terry Neason - were

‘shockingly populist'. he concluded. ‘That is the whole point of Mayfest. it

is for anybody and everybody.‘

The full programme will be published

at the end of March. (Stephen Naysmith)

Les Ballet Africains: national Heritage

Museums boss under fire in battle overjobs

Julian Spalding, director of Glasgow’s museums and galleries, has been subjected to a scathing attack in a document produced by unions defending staff against job losses. However, the unions themselves have been slammed for bringing personalities into the city council’s budget crisis.

tip to 55 jobs are to go under plans currently being considered. The ruling Labour group has recommended that the council accept the proposal.

However, unions are lobbying councillors with a document containing 50 questions which they say Spalding should answer. They include queries over the effect of

cuts on eighteen exhibitions due to open or close over a three-month period. They ask why Glasgow Museums has one of the worst sickness records in the council, and whether the cuts will result in the eventual closure of smaller museums.

The public sector union Unison, and the National Union of Journalists (HUJ) also accuse Spalding of pressurising staff members to leave and refusing to listen to alternative viewpoints.

‘There is a lot of intimidation going on,’ said Paul Holleran of the HILL ‘People are being leaned on to leave. A lot have already done so because of the stress levels of working under the

current regime.’

However, Bob Wallace, head of corporate services for Glasgow Museums, said tough decisions had to be made, and the attempt by unions to personalise the issue was a disgrace.

‘We were forced to lose 70 posts last year and close all museums for one day every week,’ he said. ‘If there was any other way to reduce running costs we would already have done it.’

_ Attempts to portray Spalding as an empire-builder, and allegations over intimidation were outrageous, he added. ‘In a very difficult time it is disgraceful for the unions to personalise the issue.’ (Stephen Haysmith)

4 The List 7-20 Feb [997