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Let's drink to historic theatre site; Hidden gem hosts festival.

Byline: ALASTAIR MCNEILL

One of Stirling's hidden historical gems is the unique location for two drinks festivals in the coming weeks.

The former Alhambra Theatre is part of the larger Stirling Arcade complex.

It will host the Alhambra Gin Festival on Saturday, September 28, and Alhambra Whisky Festival on Saturday, October 5. Both events are organised by Jack Breslin, owner of the Scottish Gantry, situated at the Murray Place entrance to the arcade.

Apart from enjoying the festivals, those attending the events are sure to admire the surroundings.

The ex-theatre, vacant for 50 years, has also been a cinema and furniture showroom.

The theatre opened as the Arcade Theatre in 1882 as part of the larger arcade complex built between 1879 and 1882.

For the first few decades of its existence it staged variety shows - including performances by Scottish singer and comedian Sir Harry Lauder.

Its name was changed to the Alhambra Theatre in 1912 and it was converted into a cinema in 1931.

With the outbreak of World War Two the cinema closed its doors in 1939 and the space was last used as a bedding and furniture outlet in the 1960s.

But with the closure of the Menzies department store, the former theatre lay vacant for decades. It has, however, recently been used as an events venue.

The theatre's ornate ceiling was described in an old newspaper article as one of the 'little-known treasures of Stirling.' It once included panels of decorative moulds which had been painted in a variety of colours.

However, the ceiling declined over the years and the high cost of restoration made it impracticable to preserve.

CAPTION(S):

Feature Former Alhambra Theatre's stunning ceiling

Events organiser Jack Breslin, owner of the Scottish Gantry 100919WHISKY_01

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:291
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