By Sid Ambrose, Wigtownshire Area Arts Convenor
Stranraer Grainstore is set to open its doors to the general public between the 13th and 24th of December. Richard Leat who owns the property, has been working with a number of local groups and individuals to create a Christmas event, where specially made films will be projected onto one of the Grainstore’s courtyard walls.
The monolithic brick building which sits in the heart of Stranraer was constructed in the 1850s and at one time sold grain as far afield as Belfast and Edinburgh. The recent purchase by Richard and subsequent setting up of the Grainstore community interest company has ended 40 years of neglect, and heralds a new chapter in the life of this historic Stranraer landmark.
Richard commented: “We held a consultation weekend back in May with exhibitions, a real ale festival and live music. It was hugely successful, and for many Stranraer people this was the first time in their lives they had been inside the building. The aim of the Christmas projection project is to give people another opportunity to see what lies behind the closed doors of the Grainstore, and enjoy films made by local people.”
Access Art who are based in Burns House Stranraer have produced 12 unique short films under the theme of Christmas advent as part of the project. The majority of the art works are by individuals living in Wigtownshire who have suffered exclusion from the arts through, disability, financial or health related conditions. Access Art which is part of Turning Point Scotland provide art and craft group workshops and one to one sessions throughout Dumfries and Galloway.
Other local involvement includes videographer Anne Kinahan who will be using footage captured in and around stranraer including images from other events such as Parkfest, Lowland Gathering and the recent Boag Fireworks display.
An accompanying soundtrack will range from ambient electronica to folk music, culled from the wide range of musical talent to be found in Stranraer.
Robyn Stapleton winner of BBC Scotland’s Young Musician of the Year, has recorded a song all about Loch Ryan, whilst Wigtownshire producer Ryan Nibloe, who has an online global following will be composing ambient music to complement the event.
DG Unlimited Chair of Trustees, Cathy Agnew, said: "It's terrific to see such an innovative and enjoyable project happening at The Grainstore this Christmas. Wigtownshire arts convenor Sid Ambrose has been of great assistance to the project and what a wonderful way for people to get involved and make a contribution that will help create a new chapter in Stranraer's history and heritage."
Ultimately the Grainstore will be renovated and transformed into a community arts venue providing range facilities such as studio, exhibition and performance spaces. However in the short term Richard hopes that the Christmas projection project will add some cinematic glamour to cheer people up in this season of long dark nights and falling temperatures.
The event is free and will run between 5.30 and 7.00pm in the Grainstore courtyard between the 13th and 24th December.
For anybody wishing to find out more about the project they can contact Richard and his team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07503140061.