Perth Theatre will reopen for Christmas with the traditional festive pantomime marking the return of home-grown theatre to the historic stage.
In fact, it will begin to stage events once more as early as October, bosses have revealed.
For all associated with Perth Theatre the grand reopening cannot come soon enough.
The Edwardian venue has been a proving ground for actors, directors, stage crew and costumers for the past 116 years.
For the past three years, however, its doors have been closed, its famed auditorium at the heart of a painstaking restoration and its exterior shrouded in scaffolding.
While the hugely ambitious £16.6 million regeneration has taken place, the Perth Theatre team have successfully kept theatre thriving by taking performances out into the community.
October 27 will be the next major landmark in its history, when the first of its reopening events will take place.
A number of visiting performances will then follow before the Christmas pantomime marks the return of self-produced theatre to the Perth stage.
The panto chosen will remain a closely guarded secret for a week or two but it will usher in a new chapter in the history of the theatre.
The theatre’s new artistic director Lu Kemp said she and the team were barely able to contain their excitement at the prospect of returning to the venue.
“Perth Theatre is so beloved,” she said. “It is a beautiful venue and everyone is desperate to begin working on its stage once again.
“The first self-produced show will be the Christmas pantomime.
“Perth has such an exciting panto past and we want to create a show that appeals to everyone.
“It will be super traditional but, if it is not a contradiction in terms, we also hope to surprise a few people.
“It might have a little more fun with that panto tradition.”
Ahead of that, the revamped theatre building itself will begin to welcome visitors in late October as Perth hosts the Women of the World (WoW) event.
It is now the world’s largest festival network of its kind, celebrating women and reaching over a million people in 15 cities across five continents.
The event features talks, debates, music, activism, comedy, workshops, mentoring, pop ups and concerts, and will be staged at venues across Perth and Kinross, including the theatre, between October 27 and 29, in partnership with London’s Southbank Centre.
In the meantime, Horsecross Arts will continue with a vibrant programme of off-site productions and community projects.
The touring production Titus – directed by Lu – is currently visiting schools, while the award-winning play And Then Come the Nightjars will visit town halls and arts venues across Perthshire in April.
The poignant and darkly funny drama charts the chaos that foot and mouth disease caused communities when it swept through the British countryside.
Lu is passionate about all the works, but is particularly excited by the imminent arrival of WoW.
“There will be three days of events and we hope they will have broad appeal to an audience from across Scotland – of both men and women.
“This will the first time the festival has been in Scotland and that is really exciting.”
When it reopens, new life will have been brought to Perth Theatre’s B-listed, Edwardian auditorium and it will boast a new 200-seat studio theatre for small to mid-scale music and drama performances, together with community and creative learning spaces.
Those will include a new home for Perth Youth Theatre.
Though it is the oldest dedicated youth theatre in Scotland, its members have never before enjoyed their own dedicated space.