Listed Building

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Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Perth And Kinross
Planning Authority
Perth And Kinross
NO 11726 23652
311726, 723652


William Alexander of Dundee, 1898-1900; GPK Young, interior restoration after fire 1924; alterations 1950s and 1960s, canopy added 1967; Gordon and Dry Partnership, extension and renovation, 1981. High Street frontage MacLaren & Mackay, Perth, 1897 (see Notes). Striking 4-storey, 6-bay (above ground) classically-detailed tenement and shop frontage in distinctive red sandstone with dominant shouldered and corniced wallhead stacks, canopied entrance leading through tenement to conservatory-style foyer and piend-roofed brick built theatre with outstanding little-altered rococo auditorium. Ground floor cornice and plain frieze, cill courses and eaves cornice. Channelled ashlar pilasters with decorative consoled capitals flank ground floor shops and theatre entrance, latter with keystoned roundheaded doorway; 1st and 2nd floors with corniced windowheads, some raised margins, stone mullions.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: principal (S) elevation with canopied theatre entrance leading to ironwork gate and deep-set 2-leaf part-glazed panelled timber door to left of centre at ground, shop to left with in-canted door and 2 modern shops to right. Similar fenestration pattern to each floor above comprising single window to left of centre with 2 bipartite windows beyond and bipartite to right of centre with single window and tripartite beyond. Cutlog Vennel elevation to W with windows and door to low piended ashlar bays giving way to later timber link to brick theatre building. Plain piended brick elevation to Mill Street (N).

INTERIOR: entrance through ground floor of tenement and stairs up to foyer with decorative cast iron trusses supporting glass roof, relief of Marjorie Dence by Scott Sutherland 1969 and re-sited memorial stone laid by George

Alexander (see Notes). Fine rococo plasterwork to 2-tiered auditorium with horse-shoe plan circle and balcony, linking to boxes and proscenium; narrow cast-iron columns; bowed balcony front with consoled features and straight upper balcony front with elegant swag detail. Fluted Ionic pilasters below boxes, Ionic-capitalled baluster shafts flanking boxes, and Corinthian-pilasters with ornamented shafts above; arched panels over boxes and proscenium. Plain circled ceiling from 1924.

Statement of Special Interest

The very fine interior at Perth Theatre is an unusually intact and rare survival of this building type. The foundation stone of the 'Perth Theatre and Opera House' as it was known, was laid by George Alexander Esq of St James Theatre, London 6 October 1889, and the opening evening on 6 September 1900 was reported in the Perthshire Advertiser as a "Brilliant gathering" with a mass of people waiting in the High Street for the doors to open, and "If the interior was beautiful by day it was absolutely gorgeous by night with the full glare of the gas setting off every hole and corner, every arch featuring to the best possible advantage. A theatrical gem of its kind, much praise to William Alexander of Dundee". The original entrance was covered with a "Frilly cast-iron glazed canopy, which once stretched the full length of the street frontage" (Haynes), and the auditorium had 950 seats. The first performance, given by the Turner Opera Company, was Maritana. Manager John H Savile of the Paisley Theatre ran the Perth Theatre until his death soon after a fire, on 28 April 1924, which caused serious damage to both balconies and the ceiling. Bruce describes the original ceiling as "a saucer shaped dome, painted to resemble a sky with puffy clouds and a border of wreaths and flowers, where the names of great masters of the musical world were spelled out in gold leaf". When the theatre reopened on 22 September 1924, now managed by Mrs Savile and her daughter, it had been well restored but with a much plainer ceiling.

The High Street tenement and shops were built for the Stobie family. The building incorporated a pend hallway leading to a rear stair. The pend opening subsequently became the main theatre entrance and the stair area to the rear was extended to form a covered court leading to the theatre.

The Perth Repertory Theatre was founded in 1935 by Marjorie Dence and David Steuart, and many famous actors have performed here, including Sir Alec Guiness, Donald Pleasance and Edward Woodward.

From May to December 1981, a series of changes took place at the theatre, including replacing the seats and redecorating the auditorium, and the building of a coffee bar, restaurant and workshops.

William Alexander trained with James and William MacLaren, setting up business in Dundee circa 1865. During the 1890s he was working on a number of local commissions including the East Poorhouse and Maryfield Hospital, Municipal Offices, Central Electricity Station and St Mary's Church in Dundee.

List description updated as part of the Theatres Thematic Study 2010.



Bruce Peter Scotland's Splendid Theatres (1999), pp206-8. John Gifford Buildings of Scotland Perth and Kinross (2007), pp109-10. Nick Haynes Perth & Kinross An Illustrated Architectural Guide (2000), pp17-18. [accessed 28.04.09]. R Boutcher and W G Kemp The Theatre In Perth A Souvenir History (1975). Perthshire Advertiser 7 Sept 1900. Simpson & Brown Architects Perth Theatre Conservation Plan (2009).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

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Printed: 29/02/2020 13:58