Service Update – Coronavirus

Artist in Residence

Renfrewshire Leisure and Imaginate are delighted to be working with Clare McGarry as Artist in Residence from January - December 2018 based at Paisley Arts Centre.  Clare has been asked to create a new piece of theatre for young audiences, connecting with local community groups and the town of Paisley itself.

Clare McGarry

Clare is a theatre maker and performer who has been making work for young audiences since graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2001.  Clare is highly musical and makes visual and sensory performances, often about food. 

As the Artistic Director of Grinagog Theatre Company, Clare has made nine children’s shows; two of which were shortlisted for a CATS Award for the Best Production for Children and Young People; The Pokey Hat (2015) and The Edibles (2014).

As part of Clare's residency in Paisley Arts Centre, she created the show 'Cosmopot' in 2018. 


Quotes from participants of Creative Play Sessions at Foxbar Library  (facilitated by Clare McGarry)

"My little girl really enjoyed exploring with the equipment provided by the toy library and socialising with other kids. These sessions of creative play were great and I wold love to see more of this in the future. "

 "All of it was excellent.  More creative play sessions needed"

 "Really enjoyed the creative play and how imaginative the sessions were.  Great classes, thanks, would be enjoyable again"

"Enjoyed interactive play for the kids, would like more play sessions" 

"Enjoyed the chance for the children to play with different toys"




Renfrewshire Leisure are delighted to be working with Imaginate on the Artist in Residence project. Imaginate is an organisation that promotes, develops and celebrates theatre and dance for young people in Scotland, working on a year round programme of creative development in work for children and producing the Edinburgh International Children's Festival.


 Clare McGarry

I am delighted to be the Artist in Residence at Paisley Arts Centre for 2018.  This is a phenomenal opportunity that will allow me the time and space to develop my practise and try something new. It also allows me to make strong connections with community groups in Renfrewshire as well as furthering my relationship with Paisley Art Centre and Imaginate. 

In October I will make a new performance for 5-8 year olds that will perform at the Spree Festival in Paisley before touring other venues in Renfrewshire.



The theme of this new show will be food, which is a common theme of my work.  I love talking about the rituals of how people prepare food, and of course the celebration and social gatherings of eating.  Food is a great topic for people to begin to talk about their wider life experiences and social histories. I have started talking to different groups of all ages to get their stories and will be meeting more over the next few months.  I will be organising a midnight feast that takes place late at night, and a teddy bear’s picnic in a real wood.

I also want to learn more about making my work inclusive for a wide range of 5-8 year olds.  Although I always aim to make my work accessible I feel it’s something I could investigate much further.  I hope to have a short residency in an ASN school in Paisley so I can try out some ideas, as well as meeting with various folk who already do this really well.  


I am really interested in dome structures and making something for a smaller capacity.  My idea for the show at the minute is to make a performance in a giant teapot. Inside there is a secret, sensory environment and children have to slide down the spout of the teapot to enter. 

I want to create something that fills children with utter delight and excitement;  and for there to be various sensory activities inside that the audience gets to explore on their own before any elements of performance start.  I’d love to play with some of these:


They are called Super Wubble Bubble Balls!  You can squish them, imagine how amazing they would look lit up!  I also imagine a giant block of ice that children can touch, maybe in a box that could have to put your hand through to feel.  And a little train that goes around the teapot, bringing new materials to the actors.  I’d love there to be real eating and smells.  Maybe everyone makes a slush puppy? 


Music is always an integral part of how I make work, this is a photo from The Pokey Hat where we tuned Irn Bru bottles like a xylophone! I am excited about finding more innovative ways of integrating music in this piece. 

Another element of this residency is bringing opportunities to artists interested in making work for young audiences in Renfrewshire as well as the wider sector in Scotland.  Mark Storor will be coming up to deliver a workshop soon.  He is an inspiration and helps artists reconnect with what is really in their heart. I will also be running a play day session for artists where we can try out the themes of my project.

Both these events will be at Paisley Arts Centre, watch this space!

Key partners and funders

 “This sounds like a really exciting and innovative project that will delve into the social history and culture of the local area. I’m sure lots of people will want to share their experiences with food and the part it plays in their lives, whether it has been making food products, cooking or enjoying eating it!” 

Joyce McKellar, CEO Renfrewshire Leisure


Renfrewshire Leisure was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund. 

Paisley Arts Centre’s Artist in Residence Programme provides an excellent opportunity to build on the increased engagement in the arts in Paisley following its City of Culture 2021 bid, which highlighted the ambition and wealth of local talent in the arts and creative industries. 

“This residency will support community empowerment through creative practice and result in the creation of new works that will leave a lasting legacy on Paisley Arts Centre and the communities which it serves.

Karen Dick, Place, Partnerships and Communities Officer at Creative Scotland

























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Renfrewshire Leisure
11 Christie Street

Tel: 0300 300 0250