Dozens of people have stood united in their desire to rescue the Byre Theatre in St Andrews from the brink of disaster.
Organised via social media, Monday’s event was dubbed a “Creative Demonstration” and remained good-humoured throughout.
Theatre staff and directors, students, politicians and artists were in the crowd.
Passing motorists on Abbey Street honked their horns in solidarity with the placard-waving demonstrators, who braved winds and rain to share memories and stories and to chant “Save the Byre” and “Save the Byre staff”.
In the crowd was box office and sales manager Mary McKenzie, who has worked at the Byre since 2011.
She said: “I feel bereaved. The Byre has been ripped out of my heart. We are all a big family here and were looking forward to embracing the Fife Cultural Trust which we were due to be part of from April 1.
“When we were called to the meeting on Friday, we thought we were going to be told we wouldn’t be getting paid for eight weeks until April 1.
“The staff had discussed it and were going to help each other through. But we weren’t expecting this. It won’t feel real until they shut the doors on Thursday.”
Byre marketing director David Orr (36), from Edinburgh, has worked at the theatre for seven years.
He said: “I’m still in a state of shock. It’s such a sad situation. The staff have been so touched to read all the messages of support on Facebook and Twitter. A way must be found for the theatre to continue in St Andrews.”
Freddie Fforde, president of the St Andrews University Students Association, was joined by Meg Platt, director of student development and activities.
The Byre has been used by two student groups the Mermaids Performing Arts Group and the student arts festival On the Rocks, which was due to be held for its fifth consecutive year at the Byre in spring.
Meg said: “The building and staff have always been such a pleasure to work with. The Byre is equally important to students, the town and kids.”
Freddie said: “We don’t want to make any false promises but we are determined to offer whatever support we can and fight to get the theatre back open.”
Gillian Gamble (26), a former St Andrews student from Dundee, set up a Save the Byre Facebook page on Saturday, which has already attracted around 5,000 supporters.
The illustrator and photographer, who is married to a St Andrews University scientist, attended yesterday with her seven-month-old daughter, Maria.
She said: “It’s important for the town to have a vibrant arts scene. It’s fundamental. We have to find a solution.”
Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has written to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop calling on the Scottish Government to help save the Byre.
For the latest on the Byre Theatre story, see Wednesday’s Courier