Centrestage Communities

Look through the Centrestage Communities website for your latest updates on projects, events, shows and news.

Centrestage Communities delivers assets and strengths focussed activities to individuals and communities, many living with multiple deprivations, using the arts and enterprise as the main tools for raising aspiration, achievement, inclusion and community capacity. All of our projects aim to build on the knowledge and skills of all participants whilst developing their individual and collective strengths.

Radiant and Brighter visit to Centrestage

We were fortunate to have some of our friends from Radiant and Brighter visit us at Centrestage yesterday for a wonderful day of fun,food and folk!

Our friends came to visit us at Centrestage HQ at James Little Street and then went to join The Unlikely Lads for some singing in Onthank.

A great time was had by all as we celebrated community and each other!

Centrestage celebrates International Women's Day

Today Centrestage celebrated International Women's Day. Celebrated on the 8th March every year, International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women as well as addressing the need to develop a more inclusive, gender equal world.

Valerie Barr: “We are celebrating International Women's Day today with women from across our Heart and Soul communities, coming together to enjoy each other’s company, to sing and to strengthen relationships across our community.”

"It's amazing what we can do when we work together, learn together and support each other."

Work has started on the Heart & Soul facility in Cumnock and you can find out more by contacting Development Manager Valerie Barr 


Tel: 01563 551505 Mob: 07341 866068



What Centrestage means to me... with Ross Fitzpatrick

Ross Fitzpatrick, a great young man with a special relationship with Centrestage.

Ross: I first came to Centrestage as a young boy and I’ve literally grown up with Centrestage, it’s been an amazing journey, for both of us!

I don’t think there’s anything like Centrestage out there, really it’s the most amazing place and it’s been such an important part of my life growing up and it’s the same today. I feel so incredibly lucky to be a part of something so good, so positive and so about people.

Essentially, to me, Centrestage is about caring for people, that’s the number one thing. Everyone has a place. Treating people with unconditional positive regard, supporting everyone and supportive everywhere I can, that’s the main thing for me. I absolutely love being involved with the classes here at Centrestage. For me there’s nothing better than making people happy and at Centrestage that’s essentially what we do. We support people and we encourage people to have fun, to develop and grow. It’s great!

I never thought I would be where I am today but I owe much of it to Centrestage and to my mum and dad. I feel like the luckiest guy around to be able to say that I work at Centrestage and to play a part in the happiness of others, it’s the best thing in the world!
— Ross Fitzpatrick

What Centrestage Means to me... with Ross McCrone

What Centrestage Means to me meets Centrestage Technician Ross McCrone

I’ve been coming to Centrestage for a long time. Over ten years in fact and it’s been the most incredible thing to see it develop and grow over that time!

I first came to Centrestage to take part in the Technical Theatre classes which Paul Mathieson was teaching. I really enjoyed the classes and felt like it was something I wanted to learn a lot more about. The classes really helped to develop my confidence as well as my knowledge of lighting, sound, building sets and production. It was fascinating and I’ve been hooked ever since!!

It’s a great team at Centrestage and there’s always something going on. What it does for people is amazing and it’s been fantastic to see people literally grow up with Centrestage, learning so many new skills in production and the arts, it’s a special place!

I’ve studied Performance and Production Management and I’m sure that my experience at Centrestage has really helped me in making my way.

For anyone with a desire of getting into stagework and production I would highly recommend the Technical Theatre classes which take place at Centrestage on a Saturday afternoon.

I work in number of different venues and productions across Scotland as and when they need me. Centrestage teaches you to always be ready!

— Ross McCrone

Focus on... Heart and Soul with Valerie Barr

For the first Focus on... article we meet with Valerie Barr.  Valerie is the Development Manager for Heart and Soul, a Centrestage Communities project in partnership with the Robertson Trust which involves working with women throughout Ayrshire.

People are at the heart of everything. I strongly believe community is our greatest strength and it’s something I’m very passionate about.

I came to start working with Centrestage after meeting Fiona McKenzie who asked me if I would go out on the Centrestage bus into the communities which I really enjoyed. I’ve been with Centrestage since February last year and without a doubt it’s one of the most rewarding experiences in my life so far!

Heart and Soul is a really amazing thing.. Lots of people have challenges but when we are together it’s all about belonging, it’s about feeling positive and having a place together.

It’s not without it’s challenges encouraging people to realise their potential, a lot of communities have experienced significant challenges over the years but when you see the change in people there’s nothing like it in the world!

Basically Heart and Soul is all about kindness and compassion. It’s about women being the best that they can be. It’s about sharing skills and ultimately having fun in a nurturing environment.

Up until now I’ve had a base in Cumnock and we are very grateful to Janice Hendry for offering us a space at Yipworld until our own Heart and Soul premises open in late March.

We’ve had some great events together already including a superb day at Cumnock Town Hall where we brought women and young girls from all over the Heart and Soul community together.

It’s great to see all these women come together. Friendships and relationships are being built. There are recognised collective aims - caring for their own respective communities and taking a wee bit of time for themselves.

Heart and Soul will open in Cumnock in late March.
— Valerie Barr

For more information about Heart and Soul contact Valerie direct on 07341 866068 or email valerie.barr@centrestagecommunities.org.uk

What Centrestage means to me...

For this edition of What Centrestage means to me we catch up with the brilliant Jonny Griffen, a talented young man with a passion for supporting and encouraging others to be confident, to have fun and to express themselves. An all round talent with a passion for singing, dancing and acting Jonny is one of the class leaders here at Centrestage.

My first experience with Centrestage was in 5th year at school, CS had only been open for about a month I think and I was completely drawn to it. Fiona McKenzie was the person who brought me into Centrestage and I’ve been grateful to her ever since!

I was completely hooked from the beginning even though I hadn’t really done much singing before. It was just such a comfortable environment to express yourself and that’s something special! I knew that I loved Centrestage straight away.

After a year or so I joined Fiona’s teaching team which was brilliant and then the Young Leaders Team.

I moved to London and then to LA for four years with my band and we had a pretty eventful and amazing time there. It was something else. When I came back to Scotland I knew that the place I wanted to be was Centrestage and I was very pleased to join the team again, I never really left!

The way that peoples lives are affected and enriched through Centrestage every day is amazing. Seeing the progression in people that comes from being encouraged, supported and nurtured, it’s nothing short of brilliant. I love Centrestage and I’m enjoying every minute of it!
— Jonny Griffen

Centrestage celebrates United Nations Social Justice Day with Radiant & Brighter

Centrestage was privileged to be invited along to celebrate United Nations Social Justice Day with our friends and partners from Radiant & Brighter in Glasgow on Monday 20th February. Members of Centrestage were invited along to the event which was held at the GoGlasgow Hotel.

It was a hugely positive event where friendships were strengthened and brand new friendships were made. We were treated to performances from The Unlikely Lads, Spirit Weans, Young and Gifted Multicultural Choir and some moving speeches from members of Radiant & Brighter.

Ross Fitzpatrick, Pheona Matovu, Kim Black, Michael Matovu, & Fiona McKenzie

Tonight is all about bringing people together. bringing communities together and of course to celebrate Social Justice across the world. We believe in equality, equal opportunities for each other and we believe in our communities. We are very glad for our partnership with our friends at Centerstage and it’s great to all share these opportunities to socialise together and to strengthen community together.
— Pheona Matovu

Radiant & Brighter was set up by Pheona and Michael Matovu to promote equality and inclusion, support community integration and to provide support and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers who come to Scotland to make a new life for themselves and their families.

Centrestage is proud to stand with its friends in Radiant & Brighter and we look forward to strengthening community links and friendships together in the time ahead.

For more information on Radiant & Brighter please see www.radiantandbrighter.com

What Centrestage means to me...

What Centrestage Means to Me... catches up with Senga Campbell, Community Champion for Tesco and an avid supporter of Centrestage!!

Senga Campbell, Community Champion for Tesco: “ I first came to Centrestage around a month ago, the first thing I noticed was the amazingly positive atmosphere and everyone was so friendly.  It’s a great, community spirited environment and I would urge everyone to come along and see for themselves.”

”My role in Tesco involves me going out into the community to give help to anyone who needs help and I came to Centrestage and I really enoyed it and have kept coming back! I really enjoy it here, everyone is always smiling!”

” It’s fantastic what Centrestage offers to the community, it’s innovative and supportive in so many ways. It’s great to see the results of FareShare really benefiting the community through Centrestage. Basically FareShare see’s surplus food from Tesco being used and distributed in the community.”

”Tesco invites charities in the community to make use of that food so it’s not wasted and we are so impressed with what Centrestage does as part of the Fair Share process. I am looking forward to visiting the Centrestage kitchens at Drybridge near Dundonald next week from some of my colleagues at Tesco!”

” It’s a great team here at Centrestage and Tesco are proud to work alongside Centrestage for the benefit of the community.”

What Centrestage means to me...

Each week we will focus on what Centrestage means to those who participate, engage and interact with us at Centrestage. We are blessed to work with so many gifted people who enrich our lives every day at Centrestage.

For our first Centrestage means to me we catch up with local gent Andrew Drennan.

Andrew Drennan:  " I first came to Centrestage a few years ago  attending Musical Generations classes. I've always loved the way that music brings people together and everyone has so much fun. Since coming along to Centrestage I started singing with The Unlikely Lads and everything has just been amazing with them. We have come such a long way in a short space of time and it's a brilliant thing to be together with all the lads. We enjoy our weekly singing sessions with Fiona McKenzie at Centrestage and we just love it when we get out to gig. So far we've been invited to perform throughout Ayrshire. and with Centrestage the sky's the limit! "

Andrew Drennan:  " I first came to Centrestage a few years ago  attending Musical Generations classes. I've always loved the way that music brings people together and everyone has so much fun. Since coming along to Centrestage I started singing with The Unlikely Lads and everything has just been amazing with them. We have come such a long way in a short space of time and it's a brilliant thing to be together with all the lads. We enjoy our weekly singing sessions with Fiona McKenzie at Centrestage and we just love it when we get out to gig. So far we've been invited to perform throughout Ayrshire. and with Centrestage the sky's the limit! "

Catalyst Exhibition opens to the public!

Centrestage Catalyst artists exhibition opens at Dunlop Village Hall!

The preview of the exhibition on Thursday 9th February was a great success with the Catalyst artists proudly displaying their artwork to the community gathered to experience and enjoy this wonderful exhibition. 

The Gallery, located within the settings of Dunlop Village Hall is a fantastic exhibition space which is now proudly adorned with the excellent work from our Catalyst artists who have worked so hard to make these beautiful pieces.  The exhibition runs until Thursday 16th March and is free entry.

It’s been an incredible experience for me, and for all the artists to have taken part in this process. I look at where we are now and I am proud. Catalyst is like a family; we all pull together and help each other everyday. I am extremely grateful to Centrestage, especially to Harry for working with us and to Fiona McKenzie for believing in us. I know that this is only the beginning and things are looking extremely positive!
— John Andrew (artist)

The artists under the tutelage of Ayrshire artists Harry Sutton and Nina have produced some wonderfully moving and expressive pieces in a wide range of styles and there is truly something for everyone at the Catalyst Exhibition.

An amazing exhibition from these hugely talented Ayrshire artists. It’s been a hugely positive experience to work with each and every one of them, all on their own individual journeys who have produced some truly special and brilliant expressive artworks. I am proud of them all. You can see the quality in each and every one of the paintings and I would urge anyone to come along and see for themselves.
— Harry Sutton

The Catalyst artists are: 

William Thomson, Joanne Syme, Harry Sutton, Kysha Bradley, John Andrew, Steven Cook and Ian Barbour


Please 'click' on the gallery below to see images from the exhibition

We are incredibly blessed to work with incredibly gifted people. These artists are brilliant and we believe in them and what they can do for the community. I am so grateful to the community of Dunlop for their support of these Catalyst artists and urge everyone to come along and see for themselves the wonderful artwork they have produced.
— Fiona McKenzie (Director of Centrestage)

2017 a busy year ahead for Centrestage Communities Projects!

The year ahead promises to be a hugely positive and productive one as we continue to carry out out work across Ayrshire within our numerous projects and community orientated work. It's truly amazing how much goes on at Centrestage Communities and we look forward to sharing that with you in the weeks and months ahead. There are always new projects and changes afoot we intend to keep you up to date with them.

Centrestage is present and works throughout Ayrshire. Our dignified food provision programme was the focus of a research paper commissioned by the Scottish Government due to the unique and innovative Centrestage approach. Carried out by What Works Scotland the research paper, entitled 'Fun,Food and Folk : The Centrestage Approach to Dignified Food Provision' was launched in January in Edinburgh to an audience of Government, social equalities campaigners and related company stakeholders. 

and is attracting significant attention from across the country. Read that paper here www.whatworksscotland.ac.uk/publications/centrestage-dignified-food-provision


The project is delivered from our famous double decker bus and 'Sitootery' to our community outreach programmes and projects in Ardeer and Cumnock. This year the bus has been active in Fullarton (Irvine), Pennyburn ( Kilwinning), Shortlees & Onthank (Kilmarnock), Drongan and Rankiston.

In Ardeer we continue to enjoy working closely with the community to provide support and assistance as well as having lots of fun. 

In Cumnock we are just about to open a new centre which can be used for socialising and getting to know people in the community better.

Heart&Soul, featuring ladies groups from Drongan Divas, Ardeer Divas and Cumnock Divas will all be performing at the launch of the centre soon.


Leadership Connect is enjoying a positive and busy start to the year as we work closely with school students from secondary and primary schools in the area, providing opportunities for personal and skill development, in compliment to the school curriculum.  Leadership Connect strives to develop personal growth, focusing on the strengths and values of the individual, learning and leadership. Leadership Connect currently works with 7 secondary schools in Ayrshire as well as a number of primary schools.

It's always busy at Number 45 John Finnie Street in Kilmarnock, the base for Catalyst Communities, a hugely positive environment that provides support for creativity, artistic expression via it's recording studio for music and with professional support from artists available in addition to a gym and assistance available for making applications and phone calls as necessary. It's a hub of humanity and we are always glad to see so many people come along.

There are always so many things happening at Centrestage in addition to Centrestage Communities and we look forward to sharing lots of news with you in the weeks and months ahead.

The Unlikely Lads sing for the Cabinet Minister for Health!

The Unlikely Lads performed today for the Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison MSP at the North West Area Centre in Kilmarnock. The Unlikely Lads have went from strength to strength in recent years and Centrestage enjoys working with them very much!

Centrestage Director Fiona Mckenzie and Fiona Lees, Chief Executive East Ayrshire Council, Councillor Douglas Reid and Councillor Maureen McKay pictured with the lads who performed a beautiful rendition of Wild Mountain Thyme.

STV Appeal

Communities in Ayrshire will be able to access affordable food through an innovative scheme aimed at tackling food poverty.

The new project, which will provide meals, advice, support and mentoring in Drongan and Fullarton in East Ayrshire and Pennyburn in North Ayrshire, will seek to eradicate food poverty in the area.

Centrestage Communities will deliver the scheme in partnership with FareShare which redistributes surplus food stock with the aim of reducing dependency on conventional foodbanks.

The approach is based on a pilot project which was delivered in Ardeer earlier this year, and will see a bus providing meals to families facing the challenges associated with poverty.

Once demand is established and local community buy-in delivered, Centrestage will work with communities to open, manage and set up trading of community-led shops and hubs from which support services to tackle issues around food poverty will be offered.

Centrestage Communities Ltd.
45 John Finnie Street, Kilmarnock, KA1 1BL
01563 590300

A Scottish Charity - SC039611
Registration number -