Renfrewshire Council

Tribute to one of Renfrewshire's favourite sons

One of Renfrewshire's most-recognised cultural figures - artist and playwright John Byrne - is being honoured in the new room names for Paisley's Town Hall.

John Byrne When the town hall reopens next year after a £22m transformation, some of the new room names will be inspired by characters from John's play Cuttin' a Rug, which is set in the town hall.

The news comes in the same month as John's latest play - Underwood Lane, inspired by his time growing up in Paisley - enjoys a sold-out run at Glasgow's Tron Theatre. It also follows John being awarded the Freedom of Renfrewshire earlier this year.

The new town hall room names

We are currently turning Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue, with new facilities and rooms added - such as a new bar overlooking the river, a digital lounge with big screen, and a dance studio in the formerly-unused space on the upper floor.

The new names were chosen after an engagement process led by Renfrewshire's Provost Lorraine Cameron, who wanted the modernised building to reflect the town's heritage in a fresh way.

The bar will be Lucille's Lounge, The Loggia will be known as the Loom Loggia, the digital lounge will be called Cutting Room and the dance studio will be Spinning Shed.

The other meeting and conference rooms will be known as Skinnedar Suite, McCann Room, Stobo Room and Jacquard Suite. The main hall will continue to be known as the main hall.

Lucille, Skinnedar, McCann and Stobo are all names of characters from Cuttin' a Rug - set during a works night out in the town hall and part of John's acclaimed Slab Boys trilogy, based on his own experiences of working in Stoddard's carpet factory in Elderslie as a young man.

Loom, Cutting, Spinning and Jacquard are all equipment or techniques which reflect Paisley's rich weaving history.

Underwood Lane wins rave reviews

Underwood Lane is a co-production between the Tron Theatre Company and OneRen, supported by Future Paisley - which is our wide-ranging programme of events, investment, and activity, intended to use Paisley's rich cultural story to transform the area's future.

The play was originally due to be performed in 2020 but was delayed due to the Covid pandemic. It follows a skiffle band as they try to make it to the big time and is named after the street in which John's childhood friend Gerry Rafferty grew up.

It had a well-received premiere and three-night run at Johnstone Town Hall earlier this month and will be at the Tron in Glasgow until 30 July, although tickets are now fully sold out.

The play has received rave reviews, with the Scotsman saying it "delivers a show whose huge entertainment value is never in doubt, and that also offers a vital glimpse of the impact of a musical revolution on the working-class streets of Scotland, 60 years ago."

What's happening in Paisley town centre?

We are delivering the town hall work as part of a wider investment in Paisley's cultural venues, including the transformation of Paisley Museum into a world-class venue, and the work to build a new home for library services in a once-empty High Street unit.

When it reopens in 2023, the town hall will be operated by OneRen and will be bookable for a range of large and small events.

You can read more about the town hall project here: https://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/PaisleyTownHall

Published on Thursday 28 July 2022