The King’s Theatre has been awarded £2 million from the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund, a welcome boost to the ongoing redevelopment project which began in February 2023. This funding will help make the King’s Theatre fully accessible for the first time in the building’s history, with level entrances and an accessible journey from street to seat and street to stage, including large lifts providing access to all floors, a 50% increase in wheelchair spaces, and improved signage throughout.
In addition to making significant improvements to the accessibility of the King’s Theatre, the ambitious £35.6 million redevelopment also features new state-of-the-art back of house facilities to attract a broader variety of productions to the theatre, a new street level cafe – the first step into what will be a thriving community hub for Tollcross, new bars and entertaining spaces, and a double height Creative Engagement Studio to inspire a life-long love of theatre across generations.
The project was developed through extensive consultation with the community, which helped shape the plans for a sustainable, modern theatre and community hub as part of Edinburgh’s well-being and cultural offer. The Community Ownership Fund, part of the UK Government’s levelling up policy, supports assets which are at risk of being lost to the community. It forms part of a substantial package of UK wide levelling-up interventions building opportunity and empowering communities to improve their local places.
Fiona Gibson CEO of Capital Theatres said:
“We are absolutely thrilled by this generous investment in the redevelopment of the King’s Theatre from the Community Ownership Fund. This enables us to ensure the King’s offers a fully accessible welcome to audiences, artists and staff alike and preserves it for future generations.
“We are immensely grateful for all the support received so far to make this project possible and to save the beloved King’s Theatre for Tollcross, Edinburgh and beyond. It is fantastic to have the input of the Community Ownership Fund, and we hope it inspires more people to support us in protecting this treasured building for the long term.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said:
"Loved by so many at this time of year for its pantos, this £2m award to the historic King's Theatre from the UK Government's Community Ownership Fund is well deserved, oh yes it is!
"I've seen first hand the ongoing upgrade works on what is fondly known as "the people's theatre" and heard about the exciting plans for when it reopens in 2025. I'm delighted this funding will help ensure that this cherished venue can be enjoyed by generations to come and congratulate the team behind it in their efforts to save the King's for theatregoers, artists and the community alike.
"We are investing more than £2.7 billion across Scotland to create jobs and opportunities."
Learn more about how Capital Theatres is preserving the future of the King’s Theatre at www.capitaltheatres.com/kings-future.
Capital Theatres presents world-class shows to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages.
The three venues we manage include two of Scotland’s largest, oldest, and most respected theatres: Festival Theatre (1,915 seats), King’s Theatre (1,100 seats, currently closed for a major redevelopment until Summer 2025) and The Studio (155 seats).
Together they host over 700 performances each year with a broad and inclusive programme featuring the very best in drama, dance, musical theatre, family shows, live music, comedy, and pantomime.
We are a receiving house which means we work with producers across the UK to programme their work. We also commission and co-produce a select number of productions of our own each year. Much of our programme is exclusive to our venues in Scotland, providing the only opportunity for audiences to see the biggest shows touring north of the border, the best in international contemporary dance and the latest productions from leading local and national companies. We are also the home of Edinburgh’s largest community companies, providing them with a platform each year to share their work.
As Scotland’s largest theatre charity, we support access to the arts for everyone and have an extensive Creative Engagement programme of talks, workshops and events to introduce and develop participation and interest in the heritage of our buildings and all areas of live performance. We have an extensive artist development programme; Open@TheStudio and have just won the UK Theatre 2023 Award for Excellence in Inclusivity for our work with people living with Dementia.