Eastgate Theatre Celebrates 20 Years of Creative Fun

This weekend (5 – 7 April) the theatre celebrates all 20 years in operation – plus the huge efforts that made the venue possible – with the unveiling of the exhibition “Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On” opening on Friday evening.  The Friday evening Private View is open to anyone who was involved with the Eastgate in 2004  – staff, volunteers, donors and anyone who appeared on the theatre stage or behind the scenes during that opening year.

Saturday 6th is the celebration open day filled with party fun and free live music performances throughout the building.  At 2.30pm in the theatre families are invited to see the special children’s storytelling show Wee Seals and Selkies.  Based on Janis Mackay’s much loved Scottish tales of nature and friendship, the stories are accompanied and enhanced by Donald Scott performing fiddle tunes and sea shanties.  Tickets for Wee Seals and Selkies are £12 adults, £16 an adult + child and £8 for under 16s.

The anniversary highlight on Sunday 7th is the return of The Carducci String Quartet at 2.30pm.  When the new Eastgate Theatre opened its doors in 2004, it was for a Music in Peebles concert featuring the (at that time) up-and-coming young quartet.

Twenty years on, Music in Peebles is thrilled to be able to present a concert by that same string quartet, now one of the finest in the business. In recognition of the occasion, they will repeat the first half of that inaugural concert but in the second half will play two short pieces by Shostakovich followed by one of the last, and most profound, pieces by Mendelssohn. Tickets for this concert are £20, £18 and Free for everyone under 26.

In 20 years the Eastgaste has, in common with most arts organisations, had many ups and downs, a couple of crises but many more triumphs. One highlight was winning the 2014 Peebles Creative Place award – when Creative Scotland named Peebles the most creative small town in Scotland and awarded it £100,000 to boost arts activity for the full year.

Today the theatre is open six days a week, often 12 hours a day and has an annual footfall of around 100,000. Local groups are central to the programme and currently the Eastgate works in partnership with at least 20 of them to stage events each year.

Over two decades the Eastgate has delivered more than 3,000 events covering all kinds of arts, from drama and music to talks and comedy, children’s performances and family shows to outdoor events and guided walks, new release films to the best drama, dance and opera on screen.

The “Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On” exhibition of programmes, posters, photos, cuttings and quotes covers not only 20 years of the Eastgate but also the dozen or so years of preparatory work to create the vision and raise the funds to build and equip the venue. It will be open until the end of April. Today the Eastgate contributes more than £400,000 directly to the economy of the Scottish Borders annually and is working with Go Tweed Valley to bring more even visitors to Tweeddale.