Edinburgh King's theatre edges towards £25 million target with National Lottery Heritage Fund investment

Edinburgh’s historic King's Theatre redevelopment fund has almost hit its £25 million target thanks to a whopping grant of £1,726,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

By Liam Rudden
Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:55 am
(L-R) Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres, Grant Stott, King’s Theatre Ambassador and star of the King’s Panto, Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund
(L-R) Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres, Grant Stott, King’s Theatre Ambassador and star of the King’s Panto, Caroline Clark, Director for Scotland, National Lottery Heritage Fund

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One of only 15 operational A-listed theatres in the UK, the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) grant will go towards the major redevelopment and renovation of the King’s and its facilities ensuring that will see the Grand Old Lady of Leven Street secures its place as the Grand Dame of Scotland's theatre scene.

Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres says, “We're thrilled to have received the second stage of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will contribute significantly to the delivery of the King's Capital Redevelopment. This award demonstrates the faith NLHF has in our vision to make the King's Theatre a thriving community hub by day, as well as a world class performance venue by night.“This funding will allow us to be a catalyst for change, making connections with the people of Tollcross and greater Edinburgh, whilst telling the story of the social and cultural heritage of the King's right inside our own community. We will protect, enhance and safeguard this beautiful historic building, ensuring it's a local asset for generations to come."We'll also improve access, not only to the theatre itself, but to its history. At the heart of this history are the people, from stars of the stage to local supporters, all of whom have made it such a lively venue and continue to do so.”

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Originally built as a variety theatre, the King’s will be revitalised to create a fully-accessible, fit-for-purpose theatre and community hub over a period of 20 months with the NLHF investment directed towards benefiting public parts of the overall project, repairing, protecting and enhancing special heritage features.

Caroline Clark, NLHF’s Director for Scotland, adds, “We are excited to be involved in this project that will help secure the King’s Theatre, a gem of Scottish theatre heritage in the heart of the country’s Capital. Thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, this historic venue will now be opened up to the wider community. Improved access will benefit local residents as will the introduction of a daytime offer, establishing the theatre as a thriving community asset.”

The Edwardian theatre, constructed between 1905 and 1906, it is the last surviving design of James Davidson and JD Swanston. The new grant leaves the redevelopment project just £1.3 million shy of its £25 million target.

With more than 90,000 tickets sold annually, the King’s panto is Scotland’s biggest and Edinburgh’s favourite baddie and King’s Theatre Ambassador Grant Stott adds, “I’ve been coming to the King’s since I was wee and have also had the very great privilege of appearing on its stage. You only had to listen to the audience reaction at the end of the panto this Christmas to know how much local people love the King’s, so it’s fitting that their stories will be told as part of the redevelopment process. This funding is a real boost and added to our public fundraising efforts will take us closer to our magic total needed for the transformation.”

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