The theatre complex, including the library, was a gift from the people of Edinburgh to the people of Leith following the decision on 10th October 1920 to incorporate the Burgh of Leith into Edinburgh. Works commenced in 1929 and it opened in 1932. The main auditorium suffered bomb damage in 1941 and was closed until 1961.
The Leith Theatre auditorium was finally closed in 1988, although it was used for a community production by Theatre Workshop in 1990. The production was of a play written to celebrate the anniversary of the ‘plebiscite’ when Leithers reputedly voted by a large majority against becoming part of Edinburgh. (There is some debate over whether this was an official referendum or merely an opinion poll in the local paper, but it makes a good story!)
To our knowledge, this was the last time the theatre was used for a performance. Since then the condition of the building has deteriorated and it requires extensive refurbishment. However, it will be worth it to bring this fine auditorium, with excellent sight lines, back into use in some way.
The Burgh of Leith is incorporated into Edinburgh on 10th October 1920. The theatre was a gift from the people of Edinburgh to the people of Leith.
Construction works commence in 1929 and the building opens in 1932.
The theatre auditorium suffers bomb damage in 1941 and remains closed for 20 years, re-opening in 1961. The Thomas Morton Hall continues functioning.
1961 – 68
The Theatre was used by the Edinburgh International Festival from 1961 to 1968. The stage was used by legendary theatre directors Yukio Ninawagea and Yuri Lyubimov.
The theatre hosted a wide variety of famous artists and bands, including Mott the Hoople, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and Kraftwerk. And The Wombles.
Details and information on some of the artists who have played at the theatre can be found on the Edinburgh Gig Archive site.
The theatre continued to host Edinburgh International Festival performances.
Leith Theatre closes.