Chapel to be converted

Strictly star’s backing for new arts venue

Charlotte Baptist ChurchA plan to turn a former baptist chapel in Edinburgh city centre into an arts venue has won support from a host of celebrities including Strictly Come Dancing star Darcey Bussell.

Councillors approved the £1.8 million conversion of the Charlotte Street Chapel in Rose Street, behind Princes Street.

It is the brainchild of ballet star and director Peter Schaufuss. His scheme will transform the 1908 building into an arts venue – the Rose Theatre. It won support over a rival proposal from Glendola Leisure to turn it into a bar and restaurant.

Danish director Mr Schaufuss is investing his own money in creating a 600-seat venue and year-round performing arts hub. His bid has secured the backing of fellow ballet star Darcey Bussell (below), the Ralph and Meriel Richardson Foundation, the actress Felicity Kendal, and theatre owner and Edinburgh Comedy Awards director Nica Burns.

Mr Schaufuss will hold talks with Glendoa to acquire the building. He hopes it will attract 80,000 visitors during the Edinburgh Festival and is hopeful of being able to host the first events this year.

Darcey Bussell Youtube

He performed at the festival as a dancer during a career which has also included choreography. He was director of the London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet, where he founded the English National Ballet School, Berlin Ballet at Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Ballet in Copenhagen, and now has his own company, the Peter Schaufuss Ballet based in Holstebro, Denmark.

His plan for the Rose Street theatre is a venue offering a schedule of music, drama, opera, dance, and exhibition, as well as being the home of a “world class dance company.”

In his submission to the city council Mr Schaufusss said: “I am confident that Charlotte Chapel can be transformed into an international artistic centre, one where highly regarded established companies would be found cheek by jowl with new, innovative groups, all offering productions of the highest standard, making the Rose Theatre a watchword for matchless creativity in theatre and dance, fulfilling the need in Edinburgh for a dance house and venue of this size, complementing the much larger venues in the city.”

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