|Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre Eastgate, Peebles EH45 8AD|
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The Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre in the centre of Peebles is the busiest arts venue in the Scottish Borders, staging more than 200 events a year in the theatre – ranging across music, theatre, talks, mainstream and arts cinema, comedy and relays from Covent Garden and the National Theatre. The imposing building is on the town’s High Street, and has a large, free car park a couple of minutes walk from the front door.
The auditorium, on the first floor, is the Eastgate’s main performance space. It can be set up theatre style with 230 seats, or with the raked seating retracted to provide either a cabaret style setting with tables and chairs or a clear space for dancing or workshops.
The other arts space is the Anne Younger Studio on the ground floor. This adaptable space is in use every day for classes, workshops, rehearsals and meetings, and often displays exhibitions by artists from the Scottish Borders and further afield.
Also at ground floor level is the welcoming cafe bar, the foyer and box office. The café is open from 9.30am every day except Sunday serving a selection of coffees, teas and cold drinks as well as scrumptious cakes and mouth-watering bacon rolls. At lunchtime it majors on soup and sandwiches, paninis and toasties and in the evening offers a wide selection of local beers, wines and spirits as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
Originally a church, the Eastgate resulted from pressure by the local community which lobbied and started a huge fundraising drive to create an arts centre in the town. Award-winning architect Richard Murphy was appointed, the building opened in spring 2004 and, shortly afterwards, was nominated as a finalist for the BBC design awards.
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