We are delighted to be expanding our arts programming in the coming year, to celebrate more local and Scottish artists.
Our not-for-profit status is important to us, with our café, gift shop and commercial use of the meeting spaces allowing us to deliver our dynamic arts and community programmes.
From our start in 1880 as a community facility for 'education and enterntainment', led by local stationmaster John Kinnaird, to the present day, the people of Birnam and Dunkeld – and those who've visited the area – have been involved in the life of Birnam Arts.
From the initial efforts of fundraising towards building costs, with the help of many visitors to the area who were travelling to their villas and lodges, to our present corporate partners and local supporters, the building and programmes have evolved to support artists, residents and visitors to the region.
The original building has been used as a library and reading room, hall, refreshment and games room, caretaker's accommodation, billets for troops in World Wars I, a movie hall, and a theatre for the entertainment of troops during World War II.
In the 1990s it was understood that it no longer met building regulations. A series of public consultations, feasibility studies, proposals, and plans were created, offering a refurbishment and extension project to give new life to the then-named Birnam Institute.
Funding of nearly £2,000,000 for the proposed building works took around three years to assemble. As well as the many members of the community and the Dunkeld Village Hall Fund, we were supported through grants from the Scottish Arts Lottery, the European Regional Development Fund, the Millennium’s 21st Century Halls for Scotland, The Gannochy Trust, Perth and Kinross Council, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, and The Carnegie Trust.
A partnership was established between the Birnam Institute, Macmon Chartered Architects and the local community, to provide a design that was both sensitive to and respectful of the conservation area of Birnam, and that offered a contemporary quality and vitality for years to come. With an agreed design, work started in February 2000 and was completed in June 2001. The building then went on to achieve a Dynamic Place Award in 2001 and a Civic Trust Award in 2003.
In September 2011, a change to the consitution led to a legal requirement to a change of name, from The Birnam Institute to Birnam Arts. To this day, many locals still refer to the building – and many of our activities – as The Institute, and probably always will.
While there have been various changes in name, as an organisation, what remains at out heart is the people in our different communities. Our work continues to be to provide a place that is welcoming – that inspires each of us to be creative, be inspired, and to think differently.
We are Currently recruiting for a new GENERAL MANAGER
Performing Arts Programming & Development Manager
Visual Arts DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Gift Shop Manager
Head of Accounts & Finance
We could not function without our team of more than 50 incredible Volunteers. From the Box Office to the Gift Shop and Beatrix Potter Exhibition, our dedicated team of Volunteers work with us to welcome the public, sell tickets, artworks and Shop items.
We are always looking to expand our pool of Volunteers, if you would be interested in Voluntering with us, please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you. Days & times are flexible to suit and no previous experience is nescessary.
Birnam Arts is a community owned and run facility with charitable status. Our two core aims are:
As a not-for-profit organisation, any profit made from our areas of business – café, gift shop or conferences – goes back into our arts and community programmes. We thank all our customers, as they really do help benefit our vibrant local community.
If you would like to know more about our organisation, you can read our constitution here: Birnam Arts Constitution
We are incredibly thankful for the support of our important funding partners, without whom we wouldn’t be able to maintain and update our beautiful building and continue to offer a strong range of activities.
Their funding allows us to keep expanding how we deliver on the two goals of Birnam Arts. They allow us to expand our programming in the visual and performing arts for the people of Perthshire, and to keep Birnam Arts relevant in the competitive world of business meetings, which in turn supports our community and arts programming.
We are thankful for the support of Rural Perth & Kinross Leader Programme 2014-2020 through the The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, for assistance with the revamp of our Box Office.
It is clear that funding support for charities comes in many shapes and sizes, and our community members are not just those who live in the nearby area but many who live and work across much of Perthshire.
Over the past two years, Aberfeldy-based Macintyre Wealth Management have included Birnam Arts as a recipient of one of their 12 days of Christmas gifts. In 2020, the gift was a new ballet barre, which has gratefully been used throughout the past months through our students of all ages.
The funding in 2021 has provided a new guillotine, which will be used by visiting artists with the production of zines and booklets. Staff will also have a chance to use it for things such as workshop preparation, the production of activity sheets for Beatrix Potter, as well as inhouse creation of posters for upcoming events and exhibitions.
Support is also underway through the crowdfunding activities of 12-year-old Rose Cave, who is currently holding a challenge that has already surpassed her target and first stretch goal, with a few weeks yet to go.
We also know that our funding angels don’t only live in the corporate world.
In October 2020 the Birnam Arts team took on the challenging task of trying to raise funds to keep the doors open after the first year of the Covid pandemic. The incredible outpouring by those who know, and love Birnam Arts was humbling, and continues to inspire us.
There are many wonderful comments on our crowdfunding page highlighting many of the incredible connections that have been made through the years with our community, near and far.
Still, more than a year on, Covid continues to impact Birnam Arts … but there are lots of ways you can still support us!
Visiting is the easiest and best way you can support us right now. We invite you to enjoy the latest exhibition in the mezzanine Gallery, linger in our café and taste the delicious treats prepared by our baker extraordinaire Sandra, and discover the new ideas in our gift shop or learn something new about Beatrix Potter.
If you're more online these days, you can help to increase the reach we have in the community by following us on Facebook and Instagram and reacting to our posts. This is a big help in so many ways!
And finally, if you are in a position to donate or you would like to donate on someone's behalf in place of a gift, you can do this by heading to our Crowdfunder page – still live! Through GiftAid, you can help us even more.
Every £10,000 we raise provides an additional month of basic running costs to the building. Until normal business can resume with conferencing and catering, these continue to be strange and financially difficult times, so every £, $, € or ¥ pledged goes towards securing and improving the future of this much-loved arts venue.
I have played at Birnam Arts as part of Blow and Blast for a number of years and never cease to be amazed by how many activities take place there - too valuable to lose!
Kenneth MacKenzie | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
My alternative office, my morning cup of coffee, the place where we run our workshops, meet friends, come to concerts ... Without Birnam Arts our community would lose a bit of its soul.
Jamie Jauncey | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
Become a Friend of Beatrix Potter and visit our exhibition for a whole year.Read On >
As we mark World Autism Acceptance Week (28 March – 3 April), we are delighted to celebrate the partnership we’ve been building with 3DNovations.Read On >
Birnam Arts is celebrating the achievements of some incredible women through March, in line with International Women’s Day.Read On >
Located in the heart of Perthshire, we offer the opportunity to work in a creative environment surrounded by the arts and nature. Throughout the year, we proudly work with hundreds of creatives, local suppliers and supporting members of the community. We present a contemporary arts programme of exhibitions, performances, workshops and events, as well as hosting a rich variety of community focused projects.
We are a small team that programme, manage and develop the venue and there are a variety of roles ranging from project development to administration, arts tutors to finance, and volunteers who help us with events, in the Gift Shop and Beatrix Potter exhibition.
We also couldn't survive without our volunteers - nor would we want to.
Our commitment to deliver an inspiring and creative space to our community and visitors is key to the future and success of Birnam Arts.
As Birnam Arts emerges from this exciting time of renovation and investment, we're open to meeting people who might like to join our catering and front of house team. We are open daily again with several conferences, weddings, shin-digs and big name events already booked in. If you are interested, please get in contact with General Manager, James Irvine.
Open periodically throughout the week | Book online 24/7
Wed-Sun | 10:00 - 16:30
Welcome to Birnam Arts, a boutique multi-purpose arts, conferencing and entertainment venue.
Pop in to the Foyer Cafe for breakfast, grab a delicious coffee with a selection of our homemade baking or enjoy a light lunch whilst browsing on the free WiFi. Wander upstairs to view the latest of our monthly art exhibitions before visiting the world of Beatrix Potter, or the Gift Shop to purchase a special gift for your loved ones or yourself!
We have great memories of our Wedding day at Birnam Arts. Brilliant venue.
Gemma Strachan | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
Located in the heart of Birnam Arts, our café is the meeting place and gathering space for everyone, from local friendly faces to new visitors from far and wide.
Wed-Sun | 10:00 - 16:30
The food scene in Dunkeld and Birnam is becoming a go-to for food lovers and we're proud to be part of the that story.
Birnam Arts has made such a difference to Birnam since its redevelopment 20 years ago, and attracts an incredible variety of high-quality arts performers. It's also a great Community space. We're very happy to make a contribution to such an asset.
Murthly Estate | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
BA Shop has a unique selection of gifts sourced both locally and from throughout Scotland. With a range of design, jewellery and craft items there’s a little something for everyone.
Wed - Sun | 10:30 - 15:30
We pride ourselves in supporting emerging and established makers alongside contemporary brands such as Harris Tweed, and offer a range of books on Perthshire, as well as V&A Stationery and gifts for the wee ones.
As a past Chairman of Tayside NADFAS/Arts Society, I have enjoyed so many of our lectures in Birnam's wonderful hall and the hospitality which has accompanied it.
Virginia Cardwell-Moore | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
Birnam Arts delivers a programme of monthly exhibitions showing work by artists at varying stages of their careers within both solo and group exhibitions.
We continually develop new opportunities to support the practice and development of Scottish based artists, whilst also bringing work that is inspiring, creative and different to the contemporary art scene in rural Perthshire.
Birnam Arts is a unique venue, contributing enormously to many aspects of our lives - social, cultural, educational.
Linda Wolfe | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020
Located upstairs of the original Victorian part of Birnam Arts, our Visual Arts and Performing Arts studios are where much of the creative magic at Birnam Arts takes place.
One of the most wonderful weekends of my life. Thanks to all at the Birnam Book Festival, Guest of Honour, author and musician.
Peggy Seeger | Birnam Book Festival 2018
At the heart of Birnam Arts is a highly versatile space, otherwise known as the John Kinnaird Hall, our home for live music, film, theatre, public meetings, conferences and private events.
Spacious Hall, New Tech
I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for everyone's support in the planning and delivery of our Perthshire Artisan's event at Birnam Arts. The space was ideal, the food delicious and it was great to be back in real life!
Caron Ironside | Feedback
Within this dedicated space celebrating Beatrix Potter, her much loved characters and historical ties to the area, there is something for both kids and adults alike.
Wed-Sun | 10:30 - 15:30
Perthshire is so lucky to benefit from such an amazing community, arts and performance venue. I have so many great memories of attending various performances and parties at Birnam Arts! Hoping to attend many more to come! Birnam Arts has a place in many peoples hearts and is an essential community resource.
Sarah Brown | Crowdfunder #savebirnamarts 2020