Theatre Studio 'Knighted'

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The opening date of the transformed Perth Theatre is looming ever closer, and in preparation for the unveiling of the revamped venue Horsecross Arts has announced that they have named a studio after one of the theatre’s most famous artistic directors in its 117 year history.

Joan Knight, who held the role of artistic director of Perth Theatre from 1968 to 1993, has been chosen to be honoured by having her name put to the new studio which will be accompanied by a commitment to invest in young artistic talent as part of the Joan Knight New Commission Fund.

She was renowned as a champion of young emerging talent and new playwriting, and it is hoped that the fund will help produce the next generation of talent using the Joan Knight Studio as its stage.

Joan Knight Studio - Lu Kemp

The driving force behind making this happen was the efforts of two former Perth Theatre employees - Vanessa Rawlings-Jackson and Patrick Sandford – who both worked with Joan. Vanessa was Perth Theatre’s first General Manager between 1976 and 1982, while Patrick was a trainee at the venue during the 1980s before becoming an associate director and later, a director of the theatre.

Vanessa was inspired by Joan’s belief in bringing through young artists and looks forward to seeing the next generation coming through and working with the current Perth Theatre team, headed by artistic director Lu Kemp.

“Joan Knight believed in nurturing new talent, and growing existing talent. She would give new and established actors opportunities to develop their skills, and she commissioned and employed new writers, designers and directors, many of whom went on to run major theatre companies and direct productions across the UK and internationally.

“This commitment provides the foundation on which the Joan Knight New Commission Fund will be established. Its aim will be to invest in emerging talent – in the people of today who will bring new ideas and energy to the theatre with the opportunity to work with the remarkable current artistic team at Perth Theatre, headed by Lu Kemp. Yesterday and today will combine to create a bright and theatrically rich tomorrow.” Joan Knight believed in nurturing new talent, and growing existing talent. She would give new and established actors opportunities to develop their skills.

Perth’s current artistic director shares many of the same beliefs of the late Joan Knight, who is often regarded as the first lady of Scottish Theatre, and hopes that the local community will get behind the fund and play their part in helping the next generation.

“For the past three decades, Scotland has been a beacon for new writing – the work of Scottish playwrights is performed all over the world. I look forward to honouring Joan Knight’s legacy, and following my own personal commitment, by developing and supporting new talent at Perth Theatre.

“The flexibility of the new studio is an inspiration, and will enable artists to create relevant and exciting work for audiences today. I urge the people of Perth to get behind this fantastic initiative!”

Members of the public are invited to make donations to the Joan Knight New Commission Fund which will seek to help young budding actors, writers, directors and artists through to make their own impact on Perth Theatre’s history.

The doors to the restored and redeveloped theatre will open on Monday 13th November, when the public will be able to access the Box Office and the Theatre Café and Bar. The first production in the stunning Edwardian auditorium will be Perth’s homecoming panto – Aladdin – which will run from Saturday 9th December until Saturday 6th January, and will feature some of the local kids who could well be beneficiaries of the Joan Knight New Commission Fund in the future.


For further information on how you can donate to the fund and be invited to related fundraising events, contact the Horsecross Arts Development team on 01738 472731 or at

For tickets and information about Perth Theatre’s reopening programme, which includes the homecoming panto, Aladdin, visit the Horsecross website or call 01738 621031.

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