Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, has given his backing to the appointment of Magnus Linklater as the new chairman of the board at troubled Horsecross Arts.
Following The Courier’s revelation last week that the organisation which runs Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre faced a funding black hole of £500,000, its problems were exacerbated when it was announced that some theatre employees will be laid off in cost-cutting measures.
The venue is set for an estimated £14.5 million revamp, when it will undergo a two-year facelift, with the redundancies attributed to this redevelopment.
However, the week ended on a brighter note for Horsecross Arts, with the appointment of Mr Linklater, a former editor of the Scotsman newspaper and the Scottish edition of the Times.
Mr Linklater was appointed following the resignations of the previous chairman, Iain Halliday, and other board members. He chaired the Scottish Arts Council from 1996-2001 and is currently chairman of the Little Sparta Trust and president of the Saltire Society.
He expressed his delight to be in the role.
“Horsecross Arts and the Perth and Kinross area as a whole have a superb reputation for inspirational theatre and music,” he said.
“With the prospect of a renewed and revitalised Perth Theatre ahead of us, alongside the tremendous venue that is Perth Concert Hall, I am looking forward to working with the Horsecross team.”
The announcement was welcomed by Mr Wishart, who said he is looking forward to meeting Mr Linklater and the recently- appointed interim chief executive of Horsecross Arts, Colin McMahon, to gauge their vision for the future.
“Horsecross, which encompasses both Perth Theatre and the Perth Concert Hall, has experienced some well-publicised difficulties recently but it has a massive role to play in the cultural and economic landscape of Perthshire, and this appointment is a real statement of intent on the part of the council,” he said.
“Magnus Linklater is an extremely significant figure on the Scottish arts scene and I am confident that under his stewardship this award-winning cultural hub will be back on the right track very quickly indeed.”
The process of appointing other new board members is said to be under way.