A programme called Future Paisley are helping to support a range of exciting projects, events and collaborations to help bolster the towns reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations for culture and events in 2020.
This follows the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, Future Paisley, funded by Renfrewshire Council, contributed more than £1 million into boosting a cultural and events programme in the town as part of a three-year funding package until 2022.
Paisley will host the first-ever book festival in less than a week’s time. The festival is supported through the Future Paisley programme and Renfrewshire Leisure.
The event will span across ten days, taking place from the 20th– 29th of February at different town centre venues. The festival’s theme is Radical Voices and Rebel Stories and the inspiration behind the theme came from the Paisley Radicals of 1820.
Writers such as Jackie Kaye, John Byrne, Janice Galloway, Kirsty Wark and Alan Bisset are set to be on the bill for the festival. There will also be a live performance from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.
From the 25th – 28th of June, one of Paisley’s favourite sons, John Byrne will bring his new musical play Underwood Lane, to the Paisley Arts Centre. The plays world premiere is in partnership with the Renfrewshire and Tron theatre.
The play is centred around a young band trying to make it and is written in memory of John’s Paisley pal, Gerry Rafferety, who was brought up on the street of the same name. Underwood Lane will be the final event held at the Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment.
The Paisley People’s Theatre Project is set to launch this summer in collaboration with National Theatre Scotland, Slung Low and Renfrewshire Leisure. The project will offer classes and courses via Slung Low’s mobile Cultural Community College. There will be in- depth workshops and rehearsals with professional actors and creatives and it will end with a performance about Paisley’s historic past.
The lead spokesperson for Future Paisley and Renfrewshire Council, Leonie Bell, said: “The quality of events and collaborations taking place in Paisley in 2020 demonstrates how culture is thriving in the town.
By working with partners, communities, artists and creative and cultural organisations, locally and nationally, we are making changes that will benefit everyone in Renfrewshire by supporting brilliant art and culture through a programme of events, festivals and collaborations”.
Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This year offers so many opportunities for the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to enjoy and engage with a fantastic and diverse range of cultural and creative events.
The first-ever Paisley Book Festival will bring some of the most prestigious names in the Scottish literary scene to the town for what is sure to be a fantastic event.
The impressive and extensive range of activity taking place supports the aims of Renfrewshire Leisure to help build cultural capacity and public participation in the creative arts in the town.”
Co-Producer of Paisley Book Festival, Keira Brown, said: “It’s great that Future Paisley have committed to funding the Paisley Book Festival. Having that level of commitment to reading, debate, learning and discussion in Renfrewshire is key to see a beneficial change in wellbeing, and reading development.”
Over the next few years, Future Paisley will continue to deliver exciting new cultural collaborations, events and programmes to celebrate Paisley’s unique stories, support local creative groups to grow and thrive through existing cultural funding programmes and create opportunities for everyone to benefit from all that culture has to offer.
Future Paisley’s efforts will also supplement the town’s existing major events programme which already includes Paisley Halloween Festival, one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK.
The programme also complements the ongoing £100m investment in Paisley’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces, currently being overseen by Renfrewshire Council, and which includes the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination bringing new footfall to the town.