the Harbour Arts Centre

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The story of the Harbour Arts Centre from 1965
as published in booklet form in 1987, with an extra chapter covering 1987 – 2007, now here on the Web




Subscriptions £ 85. 0s. 0d.
donations, commissions, sundry income£ 18.12s.10d.
functions, coffee bar, etc. £ 109. 2s. 6d.
Irvine District Council grant £ 150. 0s. 0d.
Royal burgh of Irvine grant £ 300. 0s. 0d.

Total income 1968 £ 662. 15s. 4d.


heating, lighting and wiring £ 222.12s. 7d.
painting and external repairs £ 3.12s. 3d.
decoration and repairs * £ 126.14s. 8d.
advertising expenses £ 76. 9s. 1d.
misc. expenses (incl. film hire) £ 141.19s. 2d
sundry cash payments £ 6.18s. 3d.

Total expenditure 1968 £ 578. 6s. 0d.

(* £99.17.6 recoverable from Scottish Arts Council)
The 1968 end of year balance was £120.0.11.

Club and Company have separate accounts, but the details are combined here. The percentages show the five main sources of (net) income.


subscriptions £ 2655.64 14%
bar - net profit £ 5433.89 30%
miscellaneous £ 372.48
Scottish Arts Council £ 2145.00 12%
ticket sales £ 3022.67 16%
Harbour Theatre surplus £ 1733.59 10%
donations, etc. £ 1444.18
Gallery surplus £ 536.76
fund-raising ventures £ 981.02

Total income 1986 £ 18,325.23


miscellaneous £ 901.42
theatre programme £ 5812.37
rates £ 1695.90
heating & lighting £ 2273.03
caretaking costs £ 2455.37
property costs £ 2992.94
administration costs £ 1776.53
miscellaneous £ 208.00

Total expenditure 1986 £ 18,115.56

The 1986 end of year balance was £ 1007.81
Total Harbour Gallery sales : £ 5103.95
Total professional ticket sales : £ 3022.67
Total Harbour Theatre ticket sales : £ 2804.65

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Harbour Theatre has been the training ground for a number of people who have gone on to join the world of professional theatre and entertainment. The following are some of them.
ALAN BLACK - Best remembered from “The Crucible” and “The Hostage”. Took the teaching course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, had a few parts in Scottish theatre and television productions, and acted and directed at the Glasgow Arts Centre.
IAN McPHERSON - Took the acting course at RSAMD, has appeared in several BBC productions. Using Equity name “Ian Lauchlan”, he is seen regularly in Play School.
JAMIE GARVEN - Directed at Spectacle Theatre in Cardiff and is also a touring guest director.
ANDY BAIRD - Did the technical course at RSAMD, sound and lighting at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and is now a sound supervisor at Scottish Television.
SIMON TUTCHENER - Did the technical course at RSAMD, assistant stage manager for MacRobert Arts Centre and stage manager for Borderline, and is now recognised as one of the top rock concert lighting designers in Europe, having toured the world with practically everybody!
ROLAND (now RON) EMSLIE - Took the acting course at the Central School of Drama in London, was George Cole's lazy son in two series of BBC2's “Don't Forget to Write”. Also appeared in “Brushstrokes” and advertised a well-known brand of beer!
NIGEL WYDYMUS - Did the technical course at RSAMD, worked for a while with Scottish Ballet touring the Highlands, and is now in charge of technical facilities at all council-owned theatres and arts centres in Bradford.
ANDY LONG - Joined in the days of the Junior Drama group and was in practically everything after that. Studied at the Bristol Old Vic school, and has since had several acting jobs, including a year in the resident company of a small theatre.
RODDY KENNEDY - Divided his time between HAC and Stewarton Drama Group. A past presenter of STV's monthly Arts programme.
DALE EVANS - Took the stage management course at Queen Margaret's College in Edinburgh, worked in various theatres in England, became stage manager at the Lyceum, Edinburgh, and now works for Granada TV.
ERIC POTTS - Now at Bristol Young Vic. Started in school drama, played several parts in Harbour Theatre. Has a tremendous comedy timing and is a master of ad lib.

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APPENDIX 5: extracts from Harbour Theatre reviews

“Strong individual performances were given by Marion Gibson, Shelagh Tutchener, Ronald Alexander and William Barr, ably supported back-stage by Ernie Cave operating a complicated lighting plot. Given the encouragement and support of the people of Irvine, we can look forward to first class performances by the group in the future.”
“The Baikie Charivari” (October, 1968)

“They threw themselves into their roles with a most refreshing zest. The Russian sailor, Willie Smith, danced an exhausting Czardas with as much expertise as a member of the Bolshoi Ballet! A word about the audience: slow to respond in the first act, they warmed up after the interval and seemed to appreciate that for 35p they had been given rather more than good value for money.”
“The Hostage” (March 1972)

“The technical back-up provided by Andy Baird and his team enhanced every aspect of what turned out to be an enthralling two hours of pure theatre. The sustained pressure on Celia Hacking and Jim Tannock who played the leading roles must have been immense but never did they waver as they took us through scene after scene depicting sadness, humour and compassion.”
“A Day in the Death of Joe Egg” (Sept. '77 revival)

“Fourteen year old Jeni Park, a Greenwood Academy pupil, played the main part of Anne, and her tears and other expressions showed that Jeni was doing more than simply playing a part. The rest of the cast gave interesting and at times energetic performances, helped by the sound and lighting effects produced by Stuart Kane and Jim Duff.”
“The Diary of Anne Frank” (March 1981)

“The Trojan Women” is a play that will not lose its impact until war is finally banished from the earth. The key role is Hecuba, Queen of Troy, whose husband and sons are dead, whose world is shattered. Sheila Campbell was marvellously moving in this part, sometimes tender, sometimes angry. . . Strangely to us, the part of next importance in the play is a shared role - the Chorus of twelve women of Troy. Even for professionals there is real difficulty for a group to achieve clear unison. The beautiful precision of this Chorus - despite occasional faltering - was the end product of much hard work. All in all, the play's director, his cast, and all his helpers, have given us a play to remember, to discuss and think about for a long time.”
“The Trojan Women” (March 1983)

“The cast persevered despite what must rate as the worst series of disasters ever to befall an amateur company. Cues were missed, stage calls mistimed, props misbehaved. Actors were dishevelled and, in some cases, in disarray. In fact, the company must be congratulated for pulling off a couple of playlets in the Coarse Drama style. They skilfully balanced the art so that the audience were frequently unsure which aspects were supposed to 'go wrong' and which were not.”
“Moby Dick” & “Henry X (Part 7)” (March 1985)

“Macbeth is a play which depends very much for its impact on an uneasy, menacing atmosphere and in this production it was captured and maintained perfectly . . . the initial scene-setting and subsequent appearances by the “weird sisters” terrifyingly portrayed as hideous, evil hags; . . . striking (and somewhat nauseating!) visual effects such as the blood-covered ghost of Banquo and Macbeth's severed head . . . the accompanying music and sound effects provided by the technical crew perfectly complemented and enhanced the speeches and action. As to the individual performances, the worst adjective which can be applied to any of them is 'adequate', but the general standard was much higher. In particular, Graeme Robertson in the demanding title role convincingly and powerfully conveyed all of Macbeth's varying emotions and states of mind . . . Linda Macdougall's performance as Lady Macbeth was memorable.”
“Macbeth” (April 1987)

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