A campaign to save 200 jobs at Edinburgh theatres has raised more than £50,000 in a week – and is being backed by Brian Cox and Ian Rankin.
More than 10,000 have signed a petition calling for the Scottish Government to intervene and help stop the long-term closure of the King’s and Festival theatres.
It comes amid warnings more than 200 jobs will be at risk unless the venues receive a substantial bail-out.
Actor Brian Cox and authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith are backing efforts to ensure the theatres recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Rankin said: “Theatre is necessary. We all need it, we all get something from it and life would be the poorer without it.
“Theatre needs our help more than ever right now just to survive.
“Please, if you can, help Capital Theatres, help live theatre, make your voice heard and help them make all our voices heard.”
Capital Theatres, the charitable trust which runs them on behalf of the city council, has warned it is facing a shortfall of around £1m in running costs.
Bosses said they may not be able to reopen one of the venues as planned in the spring after “falling through the cracks” of emergency funding support.
It has pulled on funds it had previously ring-fenced for a long-term refurbishment of the Kings, which has had to be put back a year until 2022.
Leading Scottish theatres, including the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, the Citizens in Glasgow, and Dundee Rep were awarded up to £750,000 from Creative Scotland last month under a £12.5m fund set up by the Scottish Government.
But organisations and venues which do not have long-term funding deals with the body, have been told the maximum they can apply for to the same fund is £250,000.
Capital Theatres had to refund around £2.6m worth of tickets after being forced to close temporarily in March, along with all other arts venues in Scotland.
The cancellation last month of the annual panto at the King’s is expected to cost a further £3.4m.
Capital Theatres chief executive Fiona Gibson said: “We will be making sure that the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland fully understand the financial position we are in and the broader impact that could have on the King’s.
“The work that needs to be there is vital to ensure that it is fit for purpose for the next 50 years and beyond.”