A PAISLEY theatre company which helped to launch the careers of stars such as Paolo Nutini has been rocked after its executive director was sacked.

David Wallace, who was also the founder of PACE Theatre Company, has been dismissed as an internal investigation into the group’s financial affairs takes place.

His wife Mhairi continues to be employed by PACE but has been suspended on full pay while the investigation continues.

However, bosses at the theatre group insist it is "business as usual."

Donald Urquhart, PACE chairman, said: “Several weeks ago, staff at PACE raised concerns about irregular transactions within the organisation’s budget accounts.

“We have been forced into taking the actions of dismissing David Wallace and carrying out a further investigation.

“Transparency is important to the trustees and, when we have more information, parents, stakeholders and supporters will be informed.

“It’s unfortunate we’ve had to terminate David Wallace’s employment with the company but, as trustees, we were left with no other option.

“It is business as usual at PACE and the recent circumstances do not affect the running or the financial stability of the organisation.

“We will have a new executive director in the near future but the aims of the organisation to help young people recognise and reach their full potential stay the same.”

Mr Wallace founded PACE in 1988 and, as well as chart star Nutini, its former members include Hollywood A-lister James McAvoy and Game of Thrones star Richard Madden.

The company is based at the Spires Drama Studios, in School Wynd, and stages regular productions in Paisley.

For many years, Mr Wallace played the role of the Dame in PACE's successful pantomimes.