About Us

Founded in 2015 by Chief Executive Barry Robertson, Capall Dorcha Theatre Company has focused on creating quality theatre experiences for audiences and creative outreach experiences for young people and adults in a region of Scotland with historically low arts participation. The phrase “You are a dark horse” is a popular saying coined for the underdog. The elegant Gaelic translation of “Dark Horse” was the ideal name for this new theatre company with the meaning of the phrase matching  the vision of the company from the outset. The idea that a new company could spring up and engage with individuals in Ayrshire, where arts participation has been so low in the past, works well with the history of the phrase. Upon graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Barry returned to his native Ayrshire and experimented with establishing a small show. This became the successful ‘Broadway on the Coast’ production, who started playing several times a year at the Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine. The show is a professional theatre production taking the form of a Musical Theatre Cabaret, performed by experienced professional singers, and bringing the show to audiences who would usually have to travel to the bigger cities to see such work. At the same time, the theatre production company started to grow and provide more community opportunities through Capall Dorcha Ensemble.


Alongside these professional theatre productions, we wanted to nurture new talent in Ayrshire and to encourage young people and adults to find new ways of creating and of expressing themselves. With this in mind, Capall Dorcha Ensemble was born, taking the form of both Youth Theatre and Professional Development. Which to date 2000 young people have participated in a free professional development workshop. We support the professional development of all through our training programmes and support excellence by developing the creative talent of artists and individuals, regardless of age, ability or background.  Our aim – ‘To provide the Ayrshire community with the opportunity to reach their creative potential through a theatre arts experience.’ Please view our Capall Dorcha Ensemble Guidelines document.

Professional Development

The Professional Development arm of Ensemble gives participants the opportunity to work with professional actors, vocal coaches, directors and other practitioners in workshops designed to provide an in-depth insight into the realities of working in Scottish theatre. These workshops are for anyone who is looking for a higher level of experience in drama and the theatre industry. Perfect for those who would like to build on their artistic skills, gain more theatre experience and will help those who are thinking of applying for drama school or theatre courses. 

So far hundreds of young people have participated in free workshops run by Capall Dorcha Ensemble Professional Development in North Ayrshire and Arran, with classes running on topics such as ‘Acting Through Song and for Camera’, ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’ and ‘Devising Script for Camera’.


Moreover, since starting this arm of Ensemble, this opportunity has been free to all since starting thanks to the kind and generous support from our funders to make this possible.

The Team

Betty Creative Learning Office


Creative Learning Officer