Paisley Arts Centre
One of Scotland's premier touring theatre venues, Paisley Arts Centre occupies a converted church set in the heart of the historic town of Paisley.
This intimate and friendly venue provides an all year-round programme of drama, music, comedy and dance and frequently hosts Scottish and world premieres.
We are delighted that Beangrinder Coffee Company Limited has secured the contract to provide a cafe and bar service at Paisley Arts Centre.
A cafe/bar service will be available during all performances and also open Mon - Sat, 9.30am - 4pm for snacks, lunches, teas, coffees and a delicious selection of cakes.
The bar is currently under refurbishment, however a fully licensed bar is provided in the cafe.
Check out our facebook page for up to date information.
Check out our current Spring 2013 season of performances, events and exhibitions.Pick up a free copy of our latest What's On Guide, available at Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre or Paisley Museum.
Alternatively, please contact the box office on 0300 300 1210 and they'll send you out a copy. If you would like to book tickets for our performances, please access our online booking system or contact the Box Office direct on 0300 300 1210
Find out more about:
History of the Old Laigh Kirk The Town Councillors began wishing for a Parish Church of their own soon after 1730. In 1733, they negotiated the purchase of two tracts of land, Aikett's Yard north of St Mirren's Burn (now culverted) and Causeyland, or the Meikle Yard south of it, and also two or three houses in Causeyside. The southern part was the wider and this was for the Church. Meanwhile they negotiated with the Earl of Dundonald, patron of the existing Abbey Church, and the existing Presbytery, for leave to 'disjoin' a separate parish.
The New Street was laid off in 38 building lots which were auctioned profitably on 15th March 1734. (Some of these lots were afterwards subdivided.) Building of the Church began in 1736 (local masons Young and Hart contracted) from the proceeds.
In 1738 the church was open and the rev. Robert Mitchell came from the Abbey, where he had been the second minister (the Abbey, with a huge parish, had two ministers.) Among the 18 elders composing the new Kirk Session were several bailies and other important people. Their minutes show that they worked in close co-operation with the council to enforce the puritanical discipline of the time on the Burgh's inhabitants.
The most famous person associated with this Church was Dr John Witherspoon, the next minister but one after Mitchell. He was a controversialist who tried to enforce the strictest moral standards both nationally and locally, making war on Sabbath-breakers and stage plays as well as on more serious crimes (for which the police force was quite inadequate). By that time some of the richer parishioners were much less willing to be disciplined; and when Witherspoon brought some of them before the Presbytery for blasphemous behaviour (particularly parodying the Communion Service while drunk) they employed a lawyer, got a verdict of Not Proven and then successfully sued the minister for libel because he had printed a sermon denouncing them. Not surprisingly, Witherspoon yielded to the repeated solicitations of his American admirers to go and become the Principal of Princeton. From then on (1768) he became a part of American history; he was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence.
The development of 1733 was the start of a period of rapid growth in the town. There soon had to be two more Burgh churches serving a High and a Middle Parish and this church was then the Laigh (Low) Church. The burn just north of the churchyard was the parish boundary; George Street and Causeyside were this church's parish. By the end of the century the congregation was outgrowing the Church, which was in any case old-fashioned and damp. After the Napoleonic Wars it was replaced by St George's Church, visible at the end of Shuttle Street though now converted into flats. The Old Laigh Kirk remained Burgh property and was available for letting to smaller religious bodies, (Paisley was very tolerant of dissenters so long as they were Protestant), for Sunday Schools, etc, and as a public meeting hall. It was so much appreciated for this last purpose that when the Town Council proposed in 1833 to sell it there was an outcry. Eventually a group of local individuals bought it so as to retain it as a public meeting place. Shortly afterwards the Evangelical Union leased it; this was a body formed in Kilmarnock in 1835 which differed from all the Calvinist churches on some fundamental points of doctrine and had a small but keen membership in Paisley.
By the 20th century the the E. U. congregation had moved away, leaving the old church, once again, in the hands of the local authority. In 1987 it was re-opened as an Arts Centre, for which the shape in which the last Church rebuilding had left it was reasonably well adaptable.
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