Half Way There

All the seating will be replaced or repositioned to enhance comfort, increase space, and improve sightlines from the balconies. Meanwhile, new hand grabs on the aisle seats and extra lighting at balcony level will ensure safety, while better heating and ventilation systems will improve temperature control at all times of the year.

Caroline Adam, the theatre’s General Manager said “We have been working on the development project for 2 years and today the first major step forward is in sight. Fourteen years ago the Eastgate was created by the determination of the local community to realise the dream of having a space where all sorts of arts could flourish.  Today performances in the theatre attract audiences of 21,000 a year and more than 40,000 people visit the Eastgate for other reasons.  This development will provide an excellent theatre space ready to meet future demand. We are very close but it won’t happen at all unless we reach the £70,000 target with this final fundraising push.” 

Events already in place include the showing and sale of a British Blue bullock raised by  local farmer Robert Barr.  Visitors to Peebles Agricultural Society on Saturday 11 August will have the opportunity to name the bullock and capture a selfie with the handsome beast.   Also on the 11th the inexhaustible cyclist and café barista Nicola Harrison is taking on a sponsored 5 hour bike ride outside the café.  Wellies and lycra give way to tuxedos and ball gowns as the theatre stages a glamorous dance spectacular in the Peebles Hydro Ballroom on Sunday 26th. and InChorus will bring their tenth birthday celebrations to a close by donating the ticket income from their first ever Choir-aoke to the theatre where it all began.

To make it easy for everyone to contribute to the fundraising effort the theatre has placed a donations box in the foyer for cash, plus envelopes for larger cash sums or cheques (complete the Gift Aid slip to increase your donation by 25%). There is also a Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/eastgatetheatre/buildingonsuccess for those who prefer to give online.

For more information about the project or to discuss options, including donations, patronage, sponsorship or Gift Aid, contact Caroline Adam at generalmanager@eastgatearts.com or call 01721 725777.

A Simple Ambition Becomes A Fabulous Musical

This simple ambition led to the making of a BBC documentary and the musical, first staged in Sheffield, that immediately transferred to London and became THE show on the west end and winning 7 awards including the Whatsonstage Best Musical 2018.

The show charts Jamie’s battle with school bullies and authority as he comes out as gay and tells people about his prom dress.  It is also about his mother Margaret’s fiercely protective, unconditional love for her son.  The show is funny and poignant by turns and has twice had its run in the heart of London’s theatreland extended. It explores universal themes of love, perseverance in the face of adversity and ultimate acceptance. It also has cracking songs, great heart, and a very funny script.

In a recent interview Margaret said: “It isn’t just about Jamie in a dress. It’s about believing in yourself and standing up for what you believe in in the face of opposition. And it asks, ‘What’s normal? Who defines normal?’ We’re all normal. We shouldn’t put anyone in a box or make them dull and grey. Some people want be in Technicolor.  I still get quite emotional when people come up to me and say something nice about Jamie, because this is the acceptance that he should have had back then.”

Jamie added: “It’s a love story really, with a happy ending but it’s also about empowerment, and that really resonates with audiences – whatever and whoever they are.”

 Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is screened at 7pm on Thursday 2 August.  Tickets £14 (£10 for under 25s) are available now from the Eastgate Theatre on 01721 725777 or online www.eastgatearts.com

The Boys are Back in Town …

Twenty years since it was first created for a one-off appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, the show has exploded in size and sequins. This year’s Wonder Women 20th Anniversary Tour – part of the 2018 Creative Peebles Festival – features hundreds of stunning new costumes in a dazzling two-hour show full of music, dance and outrageous comedy.

Tickets are £20, available now from the Eastgate Theatre Box Office on 01721 725777 or online from www.eastgatearts.com

Like American Folk? Love the Eastgate

Next to arrive are the magnificent eight piece California Feetwarmers bringing their fun-loving rendering of ragtime, Dixieland blues and early swing directly from Los Angeles. The Feetwarmers are now regular visitors and this year aim to raise the Eastgate roof on Saturday 19 July.

Making their Eastgate debut on Saturday 28 July are Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards. Laura studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and lists being invited to play at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday party at Madison Square Garden as one of the highlights of her career so far. The fiddler/vocalist and song-writer now fronts the Dance Cards and together these four feisty women play Cajun two-stepping and rock and roll swagger served up with panache and zing.

Saturday 22 September sees the return of the irrepressible Betsy Clarke (formerly of The Wilders). This time Betse is on tour with Clarke Wyatt who adds finger style banjo to her powerful and beautiful Ozark fiddle tunes. Betse has maintained her contagious enthusiasm so the audience can expect lots of laughs, remarkable stories and – of course – exceptional music.

All concerts start at 7.30pm. Tickets for each are £15, £13 or £6 for under 15s, available now on 01721 725777 or online www.eastgatearts.com

Nominations invited for 2018 Robert Noble Trophy

Creative Peebles Festival (formerly Peebles Arts Festival) is inviting nominations for an individual or organisation to receive the 2018 Robert Noble Trophy – a cup awarded annually to a person or group that has successfully encouraged young people in Tweeddale to become involved in the arts.

Introduced in 1985 by the Robert Noble Company of March Street Mills, the trophy has, over the years, been awarded to recipients active in all sorts of arts, including Dan Ward, Claire Garnett, Shakespeare at Traquair and Tweeddale Museum and Gallery.

In 2008, it was overhauled with a new silver ring added to the base to accommodate the growing list of names – the most recent of which being Kids Innerleithen Youth Theatre which won the cup in 2017.

With the Creative Peebles Festival now centred on the Eastgate Theatre, nominations for the 2018 award should be emailed to marketing@eastgatearts.co.uk together with a short (max 200 words) explanation of why the person or organisation has been nominated. The deadline for nominations is 31 July.

Once received, the nominations will be whittled down to a shortlist, with the final decision on a winner made by an expert panel. The winner will be announced and presented with the trophy at an informal ceremony during the festival.

The 2018 Creative Peebles Festival runs from 24 August to 2 September. The full programme is available in print from various venues and online at www.eastgatearts.com/festival 


From the blues to Budapest and back

Music fans of very different genres are in for a treat in early June when the Eastgate Theatre serves up live performances from two outstanding bands within the space of a week.

First up are festival favourites Main Street Blues who bring their powerful mix of acoustic and electric blues to Peebles on 2 June. Described by blues fan Ian Rankin as “so tight you couldn’t slide a Rizla between them”, the band has been a regular fixture at the prestigious Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, with sold out performances in each of the last five years.

Renowned for their energetic live shows, part of the band’s set was broadcast by the BBC when they played the main stage at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in the Highlands.

The performance in Peebles will include tracks from the band’s new record, plus a host of blues favourites from legends such as BB King to more modern performers including Sean Costello, Bill Perry and Mike Zito.

Just four days later, there’s a switch in style but no let-up in energy as Budapest Café Orchestra returns to Peebles for another very special evening. Led by jazz violin superstar Christian Garrick, the band evokes vivid images of Tzigane fiddle maestros, Hungarian café life and gypsy campfires.

Infectiously energetic and uplifting, this hugely talented four-piece takes audiences on a magical musical journey across the Balkans and Eastern Europe – with a tonne of lively patter along the way.

Main Street Blues plays the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, 7.30pm, Sat 2 June. Tickets £12, £10, £6 under 15s. Budapest Café Orchestra plays the Eastgate, 7.30pm, Wed 6 June. Tickets £15, £13, £6 under 15s, available from Box Office on 01721 725777, or online at www.eastgatearts.com


Strictly-style swagger returns to Peebles Hydro

The Eastgate Theatre and Peebles Hydro have joined forces to create a new, and extremely glamourous, celebration of ballroom dancing on the first Sunday (26 August) of this year’s Creative Peebles Festival.

As well as performances by professional and community dance groups, the glitzy ‘Strictly-style’ Take to the Floor event – held in a specially dressed and lit Hydro ballroom – will feature a dance competition for up to ten couples over the age of 21 who will dance in front of a live audience, plus a panel of judges.

The Eastgate is now inviting applications to take part in the event. Couples must commit to raising £150 towards the BUILDING ON SUCCESS Eastgate Theatre Development Fund. They will then be paired with a mentor to create and rehearse their two-minute dance in a series of rehearsals in the build-up to the big day.

In true ‘Strictly’ style, each couple will perform their dance in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. The performances will be assessed and scored by the judges, while the audience will also be asked to vote for their favourite performance, with each vote costing £1. The winning couple will be presented with a special Take to the Floor 2018 award.

“We’re very excited to bring ballroom dancing back to the Hydro,” said Eastgate Event Manager Alex Saunders. “Holding Take to the Floor in the Hydro ballroom adds a real sprinkling of magic to the event, which I know will make it very special both for the dancers and the audience.”

As well as high-energy dance performances, audiences will also be treated to live music from Peebles High School’s Swing Loaded and The Brambelles.

“And with Scott Noble as compere, plus Julie de Havilland from Dance Pointe Academy and the theatre’s very own Caroline Adam joining the judging panel, it’s going to be a sparkling evening of entertainment,” added Alex.

A fun, friendly event, applicants do not need any previous dance experience or sequinned lycra to take part, just enthusiasm and a touch of flare! Each couple must live in Tweeddale and neither can be professionally trained in dance.

Application forms are available online at www.eastgatearts.com, or from Box Office on 01721 725777.


Tontine adds fundraising sparkle

Eastgate Theatre staff have hailed the generosity of a Peebles hotel following its recent hosting of a special afternoon tea that helped raise more than £2,400 for the theatre’s Development Project.

Held last Sunday afternoon at the Tontine Hotel, the French Fancies with Fizz fundraiser saw more than 60 people settle down to a sumptuous afternoon tea in the elegant surroundings of the hotel’s Adam Room. With a welcome glass of prosecco from Villeneuve Wines, plus accompanying music from the Gerard Dott Trio, it was a deliciously decadent afternoon.

The Tontine hosted the event free-of-charge, which means all ticket proceeds go direct to the Eastgate Development Project. “We were delighted to support the theatre in this way,” said Kate Innes, owner of the Tontine Hotel. “I was also hugely proud of our kitchen and serving staff, who really pulled out all the stops for the afternoon tea.”

And the Tontine wasn’t alone in throwing its support behind the theatre’s plans. The generosity of a dozen local businesses who all donated items for a silent auction during the event was matched by bids from those in the room that raised a total of £1,400.

The range of donations, all of which attracted bids well above their reserve prices, reflected the wealth of activities to enjoy locally, from a private tour of Dawyck Botanic Garden and a half-day course at Cocoa Black’s Chocolate and Pastry School to mountain bike tuition with Swift Trails and a Go Ape experience at Glentress.

Other popular items included an original felt painting by Moy Mackay, health and beauty items from Peebles Beauty, Studio One, The Health Rooms, Peebles Physio and Mel Riley Remedial and Sports Massage.

Foodies were also well catered for by Catriona Staddon from Hyndberry Bespoke Catering, who offered a special pudding lovers dinner party, while Woodhouse Farm in Manor Valley donated a freezer full of award-winning lamb, expertly butchered by Forsyths of Peebles.

All proceeds go towards the £50,000 that the community has to raise to lever investment of around £1.5million that will, in turn, be used to develop a facility that better meets the needs of the growing population of Peebles and surrounding area.

“We are hugely grateful to the Tontine for hosting what was a truly memorable afternoon, plus the phenomenal support of all those who participated in the silent auction,” commented Estella Abraham from the Eastgate Theatre fundraising team. “With this help, we are now another step closer to realising our exciting plans for the theatre.”



Production of the Borders banner is being managed by the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles.  It is designed by Local artist Deborah Campbell and is being created by groups of women including Girl Guides and U3A, Peebles High School pupils and individuals who are invited to take part in a free textile workshop at the theatre on Saturday 31 March from 10am – 1pm.

One feature of the banner is a mass of leaves each individually embroidered with a word or a name that resonates with women in the 21st century.  Every woman is invited to make a leaf.  Raw materials are available now from the Eastgate Theatre box office.  To be incorporated into the banner just make sure the finished leaf is returned before Friday 14 April.

Artist Deborah Campbell said:

“It is a privilege to take such a simple idea and work with all sorts of women to create a unique representation of them and how they are today.  100 years ago the bicycle gave women independence and self-reliance and was used as a tool to transport suffragettes to protests. The inspiration for the banner will incorporate symbols that represent cycling from 100 years ago to today picking up on the strong connection to cycling in Peebles.”

Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said:

“The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including the Scottish Borders, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10th of June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

The banner is one of 100 being created in communities across the UK and, following the procession, it will go on to be exhibited at all sorts of events and exhibitions this year and into the future.

Everyone is invited to take part in the Edinburgh procession. All you need to do is register at www.processions.co.uk/register and be able to walk through the town on Sunday 10 June.  The Eastgate Theatre will be running a bus from Peebles to Edinburgh for those who need transport.  To book a place please contact Alex Saunders at alex@eastgatearts.com or tel: 07766383243.  The Edinburgh procession will be one of four on the day, the others being in Belfast, Cardiff and London.   Processions 2018 is expected to be one of the biggest participatory artworks ever staged in the UK.

This event is part of PROCESSIONS, a UK wide mass participation artwork to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18NOW, based on an idea by Darrell Vydelingum. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

*including those who identify as women and non-binary individuals

April is Kids Fun Month

Pop beats give way to Bunny Beats on Wednesday 4th as everyone between 5 and 7 years old is invited to join Alex Saunders for an hour of dance, and craft from 10am.

Saturday 7th is the Eastgate’s Engage Open Day a chance to drop in for free fun and a opportunities to try all sorts of activities including acting, dancing, music, arts and crafts and more.  The Open day begins at 10am.  At 2.30pm everyone is invited to take a seat in the theatre and be enthralled by Grandad and Me.  This show is a living storybook about loss, longing and the treasures of memory and imagination.  This award winning family show features wonderful live music and simple projected animation.  Grandad and Me begins at 2.30pm on Saturday 7th.  Tickets are £10 for adults, £6 for under 15s and £25 for a family of four.

On Friday 13 April budding Nick Parks can make their own stop motion film.  Tom Swift introduces paper cut animation and each of the 7 – 12 year olds taking part will be able to take their film home via email link.   Paper cut animation is 10am – 12noon and costs £8.

From making films to watching blockbusters on the big screen.   Sunday 15th at 2.30pm sees the arrival of the hugely anticipated movie version of Peter Rabbit starring James Cordon as Peter the rebellious rabbit with eyes on the farmer’s vegetable garden.

On Monday 23rd everyone is invited into Starcatchers’ magical Attic to join Lucy and her Grandmother as they rummage through the suitcases and boxes where memories are stored.  Take afternoon tea and dance to live piano music as hidden treasures come to life.

The Attic is at 11.30am and 2.30pm.   Tickets are £8 for adults, £6 for under 15s and £22 for a family of four.

Mrs Which, Mrs Whatsit and Mrs Who bring family fun month to a close as they star in the feature film A Wrinkle in Time at 2.30pm on Sunday 29th.   These three extraordinary celestial guides take a young girl Meg, her brother Charles and friend Calvin travelling via a wrinkling of time and space, in search of Meg’s missing father.

For more information about any of these events please see the Eastgate’s Spring season brochure, use the date or event search on www.eastgatearts.com or telephone box office on 01721 725777.