The key role Rothesay’s Winter Garden played in developing Scotland’s rich music hall and variety tradition has been recalled by Bute resident Iain Gillespie in a lecture to the Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society.
Focussing on the period 1946-72, when the Winter Garden regularly hosted such major acts as Lex McLean, Chick Murray, Johnny Beattie, Jimmy Shand, Andy Stewart, Russell Hunter, the Alexander Brothers and Jimmy Logan, Iain drew on rich personal memories of working backstage in the ‘Garden’.
He also drew on his extensive researches into every show and artist who performed there for the talk, given at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.
“It’s a record we have every right to be proud of.” says Iain.
“Rothesay’s Winter Garden shows played an important part in developing Scottish variety theatre and artistes of national standing. Shows were eagerly awaited by visitors and residents alike.”
The Winter Garden played an important part in Iain’s subsequent theatre career: he moved on from the Winter Garden to become stage manager at the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh and at more than 20 Edinburgh Festivals before he retired.
The Scottish Music Hall & Variety Theatre Society promotes and keeps alive the art form of Scottish variety theatre, while its honorary president, Johnny Beattie, is no stranger to Bute. Details of the society’s work and events can be found on its website.