the space

A SPACE FOR ALL! by Mervyn Cloud (April 2015)

An old kirk on Rousay that stood derelict for 20 years has been restored to its former glory with the help of European funding through the Rural Priorities grant scheme in Kirkwall, and the enthusiasm of a comedian who was visiting the island in 2008. Songwriter Graham Fellows - better known to radio and comedy fans as hapless singer/organist, John Shuttleworth, bought the kirk and - as he told us in his opening speech - has turned it into a recording studio using recycled materials, including a bathroom suite which cost 99 pence on eBay!

Graham and his partner Geraldine looked on proudly as singing star Barbara Dickson cut the ribbon last saturday afternoon in the new look kirk now known simply as the space. An audience of around eighty - made up of Rousay locals plus visiting friends and musicians - enjoyed an amusing speech of thanks by Fellows before Barbara and others gave a delightful musical performance, revealing the Space's potential as a live venue as well as a recording studio. Ms Dickson gave her seal of approval: "The light flooding into the performance area is very inspiring. The quality of that light is unique and very conducive to recording and the creative process. Magical! I hope the people of Orkney and further afield come to enjoy a wonderful resource."

Graham, who was delighted Barbara could make the trip to Rousay, said, I'm so pleased - and slightly relieved - that the restoration is now complete. It's been a long haul. I didn't quite understand how the Orkney weather can adversely affect building progress. There were a few setbacks. But Saturday's ceremony and the enthusiasm shown by the guests, have made it worthwhile. Thankyou to all who took the trouble to come, especially friends from Stronsay and Papa Westray. the space is now open for business."

Interested parties can check out the space on www.thespaceorkney.com"