Lemon Tree

(St Katherine's Centre)

The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

A popular arts and entertainment venue in West North Street, Aberdeen, the Lemon Tree maintains an excellent reputation for its year-round programme of contemporary music, comedy, drama and dance, together with its education workshops.

The building is described by Brogden's Illustrated Architectural Guide as one of the city's finest mid 20th C. buildings. Visitors might be disappointed especially as its best elevation is hidden in the narrow Shoe Lane. Built in the International-style by the Young Women's Christian Association in 1937 as St. Katherine's Club, which hosted regular dances that were strictly alcohol-free. Later became St. Katherine's Centre and by the 1980s was home to various community arts groups and a vegetarian restaurant. Incongruously named after a public house which once occupied the site, the Lemon Tree opened in 1992 as a permanent home for the city's rock, theatre and comedy festival. Owned by Aberdeen City Council the venue was run by an independent board of management. Having suffered financial problems, the Lemon Tree went into voluntary liquidation in 2007 and closed its doors. However it reopened in 2008, run by Aberdeen Performing Arts, a charitable company operating on behalf of the city council. The venue comprises the downstairs Lounge, with a capacity of 550, and an upstairs 150-seat Studio. There are also two bars and a lunchtime restaurant.

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