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Curtain Rises For Mckean Cottier Theatre

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The second phase of lottery funded work is underway at the Cottier Theatre in Glasgow's West End.

Work on the former Dowanhill Parish Church has been ongoing since it was acquired in 1984, in a semi-derelict condition, by Four Acres Charitable Trust.  For 10 years from 1994, the primitive un-restored interior of the former church was used as a theatre.  The latest phase of works by McKean & Company, a division of the McKean Group, will secure the internal structure and bring an end to a history of water and damp ingress so that the building can enjoy a carefully controlled internal environment with proper levels of heating, ventilation and humidity.

A basement will be created in the church to provide supporting accommodation to the theatre, including basement plant rooms and service areas with changing rooms, storage areas and toilets.

Glasgow-based McKean & Company, and the Hudson division of McKean Group, have kicked off the £875k contract and will complete three stages of works in nine months.  Initially, they will carry out protection works for the Cottier designed decoration - the site is of international importance to art history. 

The second process will be underpinning and various structural works to extend the foundations downward and the third phase of excavation is to form a basement level for the theatre with a new ground floor support structure.

Ronnie Canning, Contracts Manager at McKean & Company, will oversee the works at the theatre.

He said: "We are very much looking forward to working on this important project.  I'm sure it will provide a lot of challenges but we're well equipped to overcome them.  The team who will be working on the Cottier Theatre are very experienced in this type of work - they've recently completed a similar contract at the Tron Church.

"This will be an exciting project to work on and we are confident people will be thrilled when this iconic building fulfils its full potential. The theatre will bring many happy times to the public when it is re-opened."

"The site is of significant historical importance and we'll work to ensure the artwork, by world famous Cottier, is preserved for future generations to see."

David Robertson, Project Director at Four Acres Charitable Trust, said: "The trust viewed the excellent work that McKean and Company completed at the Tron Church and asked the company to tender along with three other contractors.

"This contract skilfully combines the need for long term structural integrity and the creation of new accommodation to a plan designed by Groves Raines Architects.  The structural designs have been engineered by John Addison Conservation and Design and Mott Macdonald, Glasgow, and the cost consultants are Gardiner and Theobald, Glasgow.

The restoration of the Church is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with Historic Scotland, Glasgow City Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund with the theatre accommodation funded by the trust using a loan from the Charity Bank.



Notes to editors:


The McKean Group was known as McKean & Renwick, Railway and Public Works Contractors when it began 100 years ago, employing 20 staff.  After only a few years the company began building roads, bridges, dams and canals. During the growth years of the 1950s and 1960s projects included Scotland's first nuclear washing facility for submarines at Rosyth, the country's first deep water jetty for oil tankers at Faslane and the White Cart Bridge in Paisley. By the 1970s the company employed 50 staff and today this figure has grown to over 250 full time employees.