There is a strong market opportunity for the redevelopment of St Margaret’s as an arts and performance venue. St Margaret’s presents the opportunity to deliver a unique offer whilst complementing and enhancing existing arts activity and tourism development.
St Margaret’s Performance and Artistic Venue Options Appraisal. Jura Consultants. July 2015
The option for the building that the St Margaret’s Trust and Historic Churches Scotland will take forward will:
- Enlarge the existing building footprint by introducing an extension to the north (Hillside Drive) on the site of the north transept originally planned by Comper but never built.
- Provide seating for up to 200 attendees; the opportunity to differentiate spaces depending on use; an external paved performance space / Sculpture Terrace; visitor access to a tower-top viewing platform; and external breakout space.
- Include reception/office space; small retail space; visitor toilets; performer dressing rooms toilets and green room; and some on-site storage.
- Repair and conserve the original fabric and structure of St Margaret’s and its important stained glass, rood screen and textiles.
The regenerated St Margaret’s will support high calibre exhibitions and performances with a programme delivering:
- 16 performances, with performances adopting a festival-based delivery approach, principally during the shoulder periods to extend the visitor period and encourage extended stays by visitors
- 3 high-quality art exhibitions covering 19 weeks of the peak visitor period
- Free admission to all exhibitions; admission charge to performances; small charge to tower-top viewing platform; mix of free and charged admission for arts and education activities.
- Access throughout the year for people to learn more about the building, Braemar, and Royal Deeside
Approximately 19,000 – 22,000 visitors are expected to visit St Margaret’s each year. This is a prudent estimate and there is strong potential to exceed this as the profile and reputation of St Margaret’s as a destination for art and culture is established. The wider development of Braemar as a tourist destination is also crucial in determining the growth in visitor numbers over time. It is anticipated that St Margaret’s will provide full and part-time employment in addition to training opportunities, work placements and voluntary positions.
The anticipated capital cost of the St Margaret’s Project is approximately £2.2 million. Funding is expected from a range of sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, charitable trusts and private benefactors.