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Caithness News Bulletins October 2003

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Arts Eden Court Theatre  

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The Governors of Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, Inverness, have received a £1.5 million boost from The Highland Council in their drive to raise £10 million towards an extension to the Highland’s premier cultural venue. The Council has promised £600,000 and the Inverness Common Good Fund, £900,000.

The first £300,000 of the Common Good funds was presented to Douglas Yule, Chairman of the Board of Governors, by Councillor Janet Home, Chairman of the Common Good Fund.

This will help pay for the first phase of the project, which involves a series of feasibility studies, design and developmental work. All the funding for this phase, £632,000, is now in place and consultants have begun their investigations.

It is hoped that construction works can commence during the summer of 2005 and be completed by the end of 2006 – in time for the Scottish Year of Highland Culture in 2007.

Plans for the new Eden Court include a second smaller theatre; two educational studios, two new cinemas; new offices and dressing rooms; renovation of the Bishop’s Palace and an upgrading of the front of house facilities.

Councillor Home said: “The Common Good Fund is delighted to be involved in this exciting project, which will hugely benefit Inverness and the wider Highlands. We are particularly pleased to note the provision of the two educational studios, which will greatly benefit people of all ages who are interested in drama, dance and the arts.

“It would be terrific if the new facility was up and running for our Scottish Year of Highland Culture in 2007, which promises to be something really special for Highland people and visitors to our area."

Douglas Yule said: “We are delighted that the Common Good Fund is supporting our project to the handsome total of £900,000. The commitment recognises the importance of Eden Court in the cultural life of the Highlands as well as the wider economic benefit the venue generates for the region”.

HRH The Earl of Inverness, Prince Andrew, launched the venue’s public appeal for £2 million earlier in the year.  The appeal will involve organising a series of events to raise funds. The theatre’s  many friends and supporters will be invited to donate to the appeal, to help pay for the capital project and preserve the community asset for the next 30 years.

The Scottish Arts Council Capital Lottery Fund is a prominent supporter of the project, having already awarded £2.3million in.funding.

It is estimated that the final cost of this project will be £10  million with approximately 80% of the funding coming from public bodies.  The anticipated shortfall is currently estimated at £2 million, which the venue hopes to raise through a public appeal.