A NEW boss has taken centre stage at Greenock’s Beacon Arts Centre — and he believes the venue has real star quality on a national level.

Sean Paul O’Hare took up the post of chief executive of the waterfront theatre last month, replacing Jackie Shearer who stepped down after nearly three years in charge.

The new boss, who is originally from Belfast, had been working as a director of an arts centre just outside Dublin.

He has vast experience of the arts and music scene in Ireland and Scotland during his career and through friends and family who are based here.

While he is still finding his feet in his new home, Sean Paul says he has been blown away by the Beacon and says it has all the makings of becoming a national treasure.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he said: “It would be nice if the Beacon, through its programme, should not only be a regional centre but a centre that’s nationally recognised.

“I think it’s a great news story for Inverclyde and Scotland.”

The boss has also been impressed by the warm welcome from residents and the staff in place at the Greenock venue.

Sean Paul said: “The people who created this place have a passion for it.

“They want it to succeed and we have to continue with that and we have to grow as well.

“We have a fantastic team here, a really strong, professional team of people, and I can’t wait to utilise their strengths and to deliver really exciting programmes, the Bistro experience, the hospitality experience and bring visitors into this area.

“This should be somewhere visitors want to come along to and then they can go and visit the rest of Greenock and the local areas as well.”

Another key priority is ensuring locals feel welcome too.

Sean Paul said: “What you really want to achieve is that the people of Inverclyde believe that it’s their centre and they have ownership of it.
“We want to make sure that they feel welcome here, that they come to enjoy themselves, that they even just come for a coffee and that it’s a friendly, welcoming place that’s enjoyable and full of activity.
“It’s an arts centre so it should be fun, enjoyable and skills-enhancing and create community bonds to bring people together, that’s really important.”