The Regal is an Art deco building from 1938. It is the only surviving cinema in a chain of four. It has been a community theatre since the mid 1990s, run by volunteers on a real shoestring budget, and was the site of Susan Boyle’s first performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”.
And the dream for the Regal today is that it becomes a centre of activity, a focus for the people of Bathgate and the surrounding area. A home for artists, writers, actors, singers, musicians. For people of all ages and all walks of life. Somewhere they can meet one another and make sense of their lives, or just get away from it all for a couple of hours.
What’s most inspiring about this is that it is being done with very little funding. When Scott graduated, instead of struggling to get not enough work to get by in the established companies, he set up NLP theatre. He went touring, took a risk, and found great success. Commercial success (that’s the C).
What made it successful wasn’t that Scott was good at writing funding applications and proposals. It was successful because he found something that people were prepared to pay for, something that attracted people to the theatre who had never been before. You could say he broke the mould.
On the 9th of June, the Regal is having an official relaunch. It will be packed with tasters of forthcoming events, and a great opportunity to get a feel for a space which is in the flush of a new lease of life.
When he was speaking to us on Monday, Scott let slip that he hoped to be part of the future of Scottish theatre. I think he is. But his just do it attitude, his energy and his passion for giving people what they want belongs to more than the future of Scottish theatre. It’s the kind of thing we can build a great country on.