Edinburgh council commits £10m to theatre buildings across the city

King's Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Lloyd Smith King's Theatre, Edinburgh. Photo: Lloyd Smith
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The City of Edinburgh Council has agreed to set aside a £5 million fund for capital investment in the city’s theatres and allocate another £5 million to the development of a new concert hall.

At its annual budget meeting on February 22, the council confirmed its capital budget for 2019 to 2023. It agreed to create a fund for theatre upgrades with £4 million towards the King’s Theatre’s planned £25 million refurbishment and £1 million to help re-open the Leith Theatre.

The funding is given with the aim of leveraging supplementary contributions from other partners.

Duncan Hendry, chief executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust, which runs the Festival and King’s Theatre, welcomed the news, saying: “This significant commitment gets the ball rolling for us on the King’s fundraising campaign.

“Our thanks to the City of Edinburgh Council for this considerable investment in the capital project that will help transform the theatre creating a high-quality cultural experience for all, including a vibrant heritage experience and wide-ranging educational facilities.”

The council’s commitment of £4 million will add to £5 million already raised by the trust through its theatre ticket levy and will enable an application for further funding from Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government.

The planned redevelopment of the King’s will overhaul onstage facilities, which have remained largely untouched for more than 100 years. This will allow the theatre to attract larger and more prestigious productions.

Plans include the creation of an arts centre, which will be open all day, and ensuring backstage and front-of-house at the King’s are fully accessible with new lift access.

Construction work is expected to begin at the King’s in September 2021 with a projected re-opening in the spring of 2023.

In addition to this, the budget committed £5 million towards the International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust as part of the council’s contribution towards the City Region Deal.

The UK and Scottish governments are giving money as part of the project, which includes the creation of the £45 million Impact Centre, featuring a 1,000 capacity concert hall in Edinburgh’s New Town. The building will become the new home for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.