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Funding deal for King’s Theatre revamp

King's Theatre

King’s Theatre has been a part of Edinburgh’s cultural scene since 1906

One of Scotland’s oldest theatres is to close for two years for a major refurbishment after receiving a £6.5 million grant from the Scottish government.

Edinburgh’s King’s theatre will shut from September 2022 until July 2024 to allow for a £25 million redevelopment.

The plans were put on hold during the pandemic, and the crisis worsened when Capital Theatres was told that the fund it had built up over many years for the project meant it could not access Covid relief funds.

Minister for Culture and International Development, Jenny Gilruth has now confirmed grant funding for the project.

Opened in 1906, the King’s is an important venue for touring drama, musicals and children’s shows. It is home to Scotland’s biggest pantomime production and plays a pivotal role in hosting the Edinburgh International Festival.

Cross section of proposed King’s Theatre refurbishment. Image: Bennetts Associates

The redevelopment will modernise the facilities and transform the experiences of visitors, local communities, performers and staff, whilst preserving its heritage.

This grant from the Scottish Government adds to £4m already secured from the Edinburgh Council along with additional loan funding.

The rest of the budget is made-up of donations from individuals, grants from trusts and foundations, support from companies and Capital Theatres’ own contribution from ticket income.

An application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund is moving into its second stage.

The grant from Scottish Government consolidates a robust mixed funding model and paves the way for a public campaign to fundraise for the remaining £3 million.

Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres said: “Far from lose momentum on the project, 15 months of closure has made us all the more determined to ensure the King’s Theatre can honour its illustrious past with a thriving future at the heart of Edinburgh and Scotland’s cultural life.”

Ms Gilruth said: “The King’s Theatre has been a jewel in Edinburgh’s cultural crown for more than a 100 years, with generations of audiences enjoying a rich diversity of shows from its annual pantomimes to world premieres at the Edinburgh International Festival.

“The Scottish Government is pleased to support the redevelopment of the grade A-listed theatre and enable the King’s Theatre to reach out to a wider range of audience and increase its community engagement.”

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