OH YES SHE WILL
Christmas is round the corner, like we need reminding. Still, it’s good to know that in some quarters there are people who just can’t stop giving. Earlier this year I wrote a piece on Easterhouse and how the National Theatre of Scotland didn’t want to live there, there being a flashy £10 million arts centre, The Bridge, because it was deemed ‘too small’. For what? Their egos?
Today’s Herald runs a piece about the soon-to-be homeless NTS, and how fairy godmother and Scottish culture minister, Linda Fabiani, has answered Vicky Featherstone’s letter to Santa by giving her a whole new building – The Shed, a former shipbuilding site in Govan. Not that the NTS is handing back the Bridge. They’re keeping that for their youth arm. But with the lease running out at their other branch in Hope Street, a deal’s been struck with the owner of The Shed, Angus McMillan who, so the article claims, has been waiting 17 years to flog it to an arts organisation.
I guess in Mr McMillan’s opinion film doesn’t qualify as art which is why Film City Glasgow is slumming it in the old Govan Town Hall. And I’m sure Mr McMillan’s altruism when it comes to arts patronage has nothing to do with the undisclosed amount he’ll earn when he flogs his empty shed to the Scottish Government to house the NTS.
For a company that claims they’re not interested in buildings, the NTS sure has an interest in buildings. While film companies stump up for production offices, storage and rehearsal space, the NTS gets handouts galore, presumably because it has the words ‘National’ and ‘Scotland’ in the title. Maybe it’s time some enterprising film producer started the ‘National Film Company of Scotland’, though there's a better chance of the ugly sister shagging Prince Charming than Cinderella filmmakers getting a similar deal.
The one question not being asked here is how much is this going to cost the taxpayer. Buying an empty shed is one thing, but refitting it to suit the NTS is another. One thing’s for sure – it’ll cost a lot more than its neighbour, Film City, just as I’m sure the good folk of Govan won’t benefit one iota from having a private theatre club on its doorstep. And pity the poor actor having to rehearse in a big cold shed, though judging by the way the NTS spends our money I wouldn’t be surprised if Vicky’s round the back burning shedloads of twenty quid notes.
As long as they don’t stage a revival of The Ship.