One of Scotland’s biggest theatres has been given nearly £7m in government funding for a revamp, after fears it was going to close its doors.
The King’s Theatre in Edinburgh was at risk of closure before being handed a lifeline after the Scottish Government agreed to fund a £6.5m grant.
The theatre, which was opened in 1906 and is run by Capital Theatres, is in need of a vital refurbishment to avoid closing its doors.
The original £25m funding for the overhaul of the theatre was depleted in order for the venue to stay in operation during the course of the pandemic.
The refurbishment can now commence after receiving the government grant, as well as £4m secured from the City of Edinburgh Council and loan funding.
The rest of the project’s budget is made up of donations from individuals, grants from trusts and foundations, support from companies, and Capital Theatres’ own income.
The grant from the Government allows a public fundraiser to be launched, and an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund is currently moving into its second stage.
The project is set to start in September 2022, with the theatre planning to reopen in the middle of 2024 and continue to be a hub in the Edinburgh community.
The theatre is a key venue for touring dramas, musicals, and children’s shows and is home to Scotland’s biggest annual pantomime production – as well as hosting events at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres, said: “We’re overjoyed with this show of support and confidence in the King’s redevelopment project from the Scottish Government.
“As Covid-19 hit in March 2020, Capital Theatres announced that the redevelopment of the King’s would be paused for a year whilst we dealt with the impact of the pandemic.
“Far from losing 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.
“Not only a wonderful venue for joy and inspiration but the King’s will also offer a thriving hub by day for the many communities situated in and around Tollcross.
“The Scottish Government’s grant, along with the grant and loan funding from the City of Edinburgh Council, makes this project viable.
“This funding stands alongside the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant we are working so hard to secure, and the tireless efforts of our development team.
“There is, however, still a way to go to reach our financial target and we’ll be launching a public fundraising campaign later in the year.
“This last push will build on the generous support shown during our period of closure, so the people of Edinburgh and Scotland can continue to play their part by helping us secure the future of the King’s as a historical and cultural treasure.”
The Scottish Government’s culture minister, Jenny Gilruth, said: “The King’s Theatre has been a jewel in Edinburgh’s cultural crown for more than 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.”