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Irvine Welsh leads campaign to restore Leith Theatre

Irvine Welsh. Photo: Featureflash/Shutterstock

Irvine Welsh is heading a public appeal to support the restoration of Leith Theatre, which has been dark for more than 20 years.

The Trainspotting author has been made patron of the Leith Theatre Trust, which was gifted a five-year lease to run the Edinburgh Council-owned theatre in January 2016.

Despite the trust’s involvement, the main auditorium was placed on the Theatre Buildings at Risk Register last June “due to the amounts of funding still required to secure its future”.

A spokesman for the trust told The Stage that it was attempting to raise £250,000 in the immediate future to bring the theatre up to a state where it can stage events such as the pop-up arts festival Hidden Door, already scheduled for May [1].

He added: “In order to renovate the theatre and restore it to its full glory, the trust needs to raise £8 million to £10 million in capital as well as to maintain the day-to-day running of the buildings.”

In a message of support, Welsh said he used to play outside the Leith Theatre and remembered it “as an impressive but dormant force”.

He added: “Now Leith Theatre is about to come of age again. The loss of city centre venues and the gentrification of Leith, making it no longer a no-go area for tourists, ensure its development as a city-wide resource essential. And it is, and will remain, a hub for the local community.”