FOR those of us who remember how important Barrfields Pavilion Theatre was to the town happy days may be here again....or on the way.

Anyone who used the Barrfields part of Vikingar! over the past 20 years has witnessed a decline in the theatre and auditorium. Tender loving care for the old lady was never on the agenda of North Ayrshire Leisure Trust when it was set up by the council to run the building.

The deterioration of the theatre was not helped by an attitude from some staff that you were a nuisance by paying for the privilege of using the facilities. Local clubs had experience of potential customers phoning up for tickets for shows to be met with such quotes as "I don't know anything about it. I've never heard of it..." when, in fact, they had the posters stuck on the walls.

IN recent years this has led to local societies like the Operatic, Youth Theatre and Players boycotting the Vikingar! front desk as far as sales were concerned. That's a pity since the theatre seems an obvious outlet to sell tickets for shows that are taking place at the venue.

Well, the good news is that after a year of a new steering committee the Barrfields Users Group is being constituted and will meet regularly to discuss the running of and improvements to the theatre.

In the past year, with the new-found co-operation of the new 'KA' Trust management the theatre has seen the auditorium repainted, seats repaired and technical facilities modernised.

I have been a member of the group alongside such local theatre people as young, dynamic director Ryan Moir who in recent years has been running a campaign to save Barrfields.

Ryan who has written the history of the theatre pointed out that Barrfields is the last remaining of Scotland's summer theatres still open and staging shows. At one point dozens of such buildings graced the shores of Scotland, but the majority have either been demolished or converted to some other use. Although Barrfields is the only one remaining the Pavilion, where a multitude of stars of stage and screen made their debut, now lies empty most nights of the week.

As Ryan says Largs is well and truly off the entertainment map which inspired his campaign to revive the theatre.

Marti Pellow, Billy Connolly, Rikki Fulton, Stanley Baxter, Ronnie Corbett, Frankie Vaughan...even Kylie Minogue have all appeared at the venue over the years.

His campaign is for people who believe that, with a bit of energy and imagination, the 82 year old Barrfields can have a future as a dynamic arts centre and entertainment venue, so ,, hopefully the new group will play its part.

Barrfields Pavilion was opened as a seaside variety theatre in April 1930.It was named after Robert Barr who gifted the site to the people of Largs alongside the money to build a theatre onsite.

It was the centrepiece of the Barrfields Public Park, which included walled gardens, tearoom, playpark, sports ground and putting green.