Leith Theatre Trust is pleased to announce Irvine Welsh as its Patron. In a message of support Irvine Welsh said
“I used to play outside the Leith Theatre as a kid and always remember it as an impressive but dormant force. I recall seeing Mott the Hoople play there and thought that this was the start of good times for the impressive space. It wasn’t to be and the main Theatre lay empty for several decades.
Now Leith Theatre is about come of age again. The loss of city centre venues and the gentrification of Leith, making it no longer a no-go area for tourists, ensure its development as a city-wide resource essential. And it is, and will remain, a hub for the local community.
Please support the Trust and its inspiring vision for bringing the Theatre complex back into full use.”
Leith Theatre, on Ferry Road, is a magnificent art deco building which in its heyday hosted big name acts such as AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Slade … and the Wombles! It was also a venue for the Edinburgh International Festival in the 1960s hosting major international theatre directors such as Yukio Ninagawa alongside some of the most famous names in classical music at the time such as Yehudi Menuhin.
Commissioned and built in the 1920s as a gift to the people of Leith from Edinburgh City Council, Leith Theatre (initially known as Leith Town Hall) first opened its doors in 1932. The building suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and was forced to close in 1941 but reopened again in 1961 and although it shut in 1988 it is remembered fondly by local residents as well as the artists who performed there.
In January 2016 the Leith Theatre Trust was gifted the running of the buildings for a five year period with the ambition of restoring the main auditorium and making the complex a viable ongoing cultural space.It will offer artists from across the city and Scotland a mid-scale theatre space (1,500) as well as the complex of smaller, flexible spaces in which to rehearse and perform. It also offers the many grass-roots artists emerging in Leith a fantastic cultural hub on their doorstep.
Leith Theatre has been recently announced as the venue for Edinburgh’s innovative Hidden Door festival which runs from 26 May to 4 June 2017. The festival will see the building transformed to house live music, theatre spaces, bars, a cinema and a multitude of exhibition and installation spaces.
In order to renovate the theatre and restore it to its full glory the Trust needs to raise £8m – £10m in capital as well as maintain the day to day running of the buildings.
A fundraising campaign has been launched at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/leiththeatretrust