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‘It’s Really Important to me and it’s Something I Feel Strongly About’ says new Pitlochry Festival Theatre Chair

LISTEN: Crawford Gillies talks personally about his experience at the Theatre

After nine years as the Pitlochry Festival Theatre (PFT) chair, Colin Liddle is stepping down as chair of the PFT.

Crawford Gillies will take his seat as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees bringing, what Mr Liddle says, is ‘great leadership’ to the table.

Mr Gillies said: “Although the Theatre remains closed at the moment, I am hugely excited by the potential of Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the role it can play in the future of Perthshire and beyond.

“I look forward to working with the Board and our superb leadership team to realise that potential.”

For Mr Gillies, the theatre is a very special place to him after having spent many years visiting the theatre.

‘We just love going to it, it’s an important part of our life’ says Mr Gillies, ‘and we never miss a show, or at least we didn’t when it was open.’

He added: “It’s special to me I think for two reasons, one we just love going, we see some fantastic shows there, but at the same time I know how critical this theatre is to the local economy.

“Not only to those of us who live here, but it’s a major tourism attraction and a successful, thriving, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, will help create a thriving Pitlochry.

“And indeed, make an important contribution to the economy Perthshire as a whole, so it’s really important to me and it’s something I feel strongly about.”

Looking to working closer with the team in a more significant role he said: “I am delighted that Crawford has been elected as the new Chair.

“He brings great leadership skills to take the Theatre forward with the Board and of course our Executive Director Kris Bryce and Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman.”

Welcoming his move to chair, Kris Bryce, the Executive Director at the PFT said: “Elizabeth and I each already have an excellent relationship with Crawford in his role as a Trustee, and look forward to continuing to work with him and the Board

“These are challenging times for Pitlochry Festival Theatre and the theatre industry as a whole. Difficult times still lie ahead. However, when hopefully we open up the Theatre next year, we will be back even stronger with exciting new developments and performances.

“We are also delighted that Colin remains very much part of the future of Pitlochry Festival Theatre and look forward to continuing to work with him and the Vision 2021 Committee in the development and expansion of the Theatre over the next few years.”

The theatre is unique in the way it draws a cultural connection to a somewhat secluded part of the country, in the way larger cities tend to set trends as cultural hubs.

This ‘very unusual’ success is owed to a mix of the ‘countryside’, ‘hostelry’ and ‘vibe’ of the town.

Mr Crawford explained: “One of the things I’ve learned in recent months our reach is so great, we attract people from all over the UK in a way that I don’t think any other theatre does.”

Stepping aside  as chair, Mr Liddle said: At no time in my 9 years as Chair and 18 years as a Trustee has there been a better moment to hand over the baton to Crawford.

“Nine years is a long time to lead any charity these days and despite the challenges of Covid-19 and the enforced closure of the Theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre is in a stronger position than I have ever known.”

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