Tech, culture and the arts – all at Helensburgh’s Tower Digital Arts Centre!

Tech, culture and the arts – all at Helensburgh’s Tower Digital Arts Centre! Great things can happen when old meets new. And the Tower Digital Arts Centre in the Argyll town of Helensburgh is a perfect example.

A few years ago a team of dedicated volunteers transformed St Columba’s Church, which sits at the heart of the town, into an arts and digital space offering live music and performances, cinema, exhibitions, digital education and more.

The fabulous building, designed in 1861 by William Spence, one of the country’s best theatre architects at the time, was carefully renovated and preserved and then fitted out with the very latest technology to bring you a 21st-century experience. If you fancy some cutting-edge arts served up in an historic building, then check out The Tower in Helensburgh.

Marvelous movies
Helensburgh’s most famous son, John Logie Baird, gave the world television. So it’s no surprise that cinema is a big part of The Tower’s offering, with two digital cinema screens inside the converted church. And this isn’t just any old movie experience. Tower Cinema describes itself as ‘cinema with soul’ and you can see why. Relax on comfy sofa seating and appreciate the architectural features of this magnificent old building as you enjoy the latest cinema releases. Tuck into some freshly made popcorn, treat yourself to Dino’s ice cream (made in Helensburgh) and choose from an excellent range of local ales, wines and juices from the bar. All this really adds a touch of old-fashioned style to your movie viewing. The cinema’s packed programme includes the latest blockbusters, kids’ films and independent films, as well screenings for parents and babies and ‘silver screenings’ for older people.

Perfect performances
The Tower plays host to everything from live ballet to touring plays, music concerts to cabarets. It’s a great place to catch up-and-coming artists, as well as well-known names. The Tower takes part in Helensburgh’s biggest annual festivals, including Helensburgh Winter Festival, John Muir Wildlife Film Festival, Festival of Voice and Helensburgh Summer Festival. It also runs events as part of Celtic Connections, Glasgow Comedy Festival and Glasgow Jazz Festival. The festivals are a great way to experience some cracking cultural occasions at The Tower, as well as see some other awesome acts in and around Helensburgh.

Or how about watching some world-class dance, opera and classical music streamed live? The Tower works in partnership with the National Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House, Met Opera, Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Shakespeare Company and English National Opera to stream major live performances.

The broadcasts provide a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the stars with backstage footage and interviews.

Delightful digital
How does 300 to 400 MB sound? The Tower has the fastest internet in the west! And that attracts some of the brightest digital minds. The Tower’s Creative Digital Hub is one of the leading providers of digital technology and new media courses in Scotland and hosts one of two Apple Authorised Training Centre for Education in the country.

One of the best bits about The Tower is its people. It’s run mainly by volunteers, who all provide a warm welcome when you visit. Helensburgh is a fabulous Scottish town to explore. With broad avenues, piers, promenades, shops and eateries, it’s a great place to spend a day. One of the highlights of a visit to Helensburgh is Hill House. This stunning building is universally regarded as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest domestic creation. Check out its fabulous architecture, Arts and Crafts textiles and furniture.

Find out more about things to see and do in Helensburgh & Loch Lomond.