Dumbarton theatre group call on date to be set for Denny Civic reopening

A drama group is calling on the council for more clarity on when Dumbarton’s Denny Civic Theatre will reopen, as the venue still remains closed to performers.

The theatre has been shut for the past two years due to the pandemic, but is still unable to reopen after private equipment vital for staging shows was removed by a retiring contractor last year.

The Lennox last month told how West Dunbartonshire councillors had given the green light to £200,000 plans for improvements to get it back up and running.

But Dumbarton People’s Theatre (DPT) - which staged year-round productions at the St Mary’s Way venue - have called for further clarity on when it will reopen.

Janette Barnes, of DPT said she hopes that the group will be given a date for the completion of works to allow them to start planning for the new theatre season in autumn.

West Dunbartonshire Council say the installation is expected to be fully completed “in the summer months at the earliest.”

But Janette fears it won’t be completed by autumn, telling the Lennox: “We’re thrilled that it’s all going to be done. We’d just like to know a timescale.

“It’s great that the work is going to be done. We’ve offered input into the design. But we’re worried about the timescale.

“The season all starts up again in the autumn and I’m quite sure that it won’t be completed by that point.

“I know it’s a big ask.

“We’re making alternative arrangements to keep the club alive.

“If it can open in the autumn then we’ll be over the moon and we’ll have a production ready to go.

Dumbarton theatre group call on date to be set for Denny Civic reopening

“The leisure trust will be contacted by our president to see if they have any idea when a timescale could be published.

“People in Dumbarton will want to know that as well.

“A timescale would be great for us. In the meantime we’re getting fed up of not having things to do. We’re planning some events so that we can do things in an alternative venue, just to keep the members with something to do.

“People get fed up. You don’t come to a drama club to sit and talk about it. They want to be on stage.

“Audiences are asking us when we’re coming back.

“As much as I would love to say it’s in the autumn, nobody can tell us for certain when we’ll be back.”

She admits that she remains unsure if the ever-popular pantomimes held in the run-up to Christmas will even take place this year.

Janette added: “There could be a pantomime this year. But I’d need to have my optimistic hat on.

“It’s great that they’ve invested the money in the theatre. That’s absolutely great.

“But it’s too soon to get excited at the moment.”

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s cultural committee last month approved plans for the purchase and installation of a brand new professional audio and visual system, as well as an upgrade of the current changing facilities, redecorating, and improving toilet provisions.

Bailie Denis Agnew, convenor of the cultural committee said: “I’m pleased to see plans progressing for the Denny Civic Theatre to reopen.

“The addition of a new audio and video system to the theatre is a much-needed upgrade that will benefit both the performers and audience.

“Following a two-year closure, I am confident that our residents will be eager to return to this important community venue.”