£190,000 for Edinburgh Festival programme in Leith Theatre this August!

We are delighted that the Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund is to put in £190,000 to enable a music programme to take place in Leith Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF).  It is 30 years since EIF last put on performances in the theatre, so this is a very welcome return.

The funding will help pay for an extended celebration of Scottish music at the venue from leading folk, pop, rock and indie acts. The EIF programme is called Light on the Shore and the line up will be revealed when the full EIF programme is launched next week.

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The funding is not coming directly to Leith Theatre Trust, but work carried out by EIF to improve the condition of the venue will leave a lasting legacy. 

Jack Hunter, Chair of Leith Theatre Trust, said, “In preparing the theatre to host the Festival’s programme there will also be improvements to the infrastructure which will leave us in a better position ongoing. It’s an exciting time for Leith Theatre and we look forward to showing off our building while being part of one of the city and country’s most acclaimed events.”

Roy Luxford, director of planning at the EIF, said: “As with every venue we use, the festival ensures the infrastructure is appropriate and designed to deliver the performances we present. For Leith Theatre, this will involve preparation and repair work that will make some improvement to the venue after Light on the Shore.”

Choose Leith Theatre for £10,000 of local funding!

People living in the Greater Leith area can make their voices heard by voting for Leith Theatre to receive funding for local projects close to their heart and home!

Here at Leith Theatre we have been working hard to save this beautiful building and now we want people to use it.  With £10,000 from £eith Chooses we would purchase audio-visual equipment for the Thomas Morton Hall, our wonderful smaller hall, including a permanent PA system, projector and screen. 

To say thank you we will then host a series of events including a lunchtime film event for elderly people facing social isolation in Leith, a daytime film event for parents and babies, an open mic and spoken word night for creative talent, and the return of the Leith Theatre Sessions! Depending on the success of each event and with feedback from the community in attendance, we will work on making at least one into a regular fixture. 

As well as the benefits of the community events themselves, the equipment will make the hall more attractive to people wishing to use it for weddings, exhibitions, community celebrations, workshops and corporate events. That means more money for Leith Theatre Trust every penny of which goes back into the project and the refurbishment of our main auditorium.


Any person, 8 years or older who lives, works, studies or volunteers in Leith is eligible to vote.
People can cast their votes on March 3rd at the Leith Community Centre between 12-3pm. As well as our own you will see some amazing projects; all with the aim of making Leith a stronger, happier, healthier and more exciting community. What is more any person who comes on the day and votes will also receive an online vote.

If you can’t make it on the day, you are able to vote online from 3rd-10th of March, but you have to get an access code at a chosen destination – so check the £eith Chooses website for voting rules.


Leith Theatre campaign receives welcome capital boost

Our campaign to revive the Leith Theatre has received a welcome boost with £1m of funding confirmed in the City of Edinburgh Council’s capital budget for 2018-2023. 

The Council agreed the capital budget for the next five years at a meeting held on 22 February. Leith Theatre was one of a number of recipients to share in £10m provision for cultural infrastructure projects in the city. 

The commitment is the first major capital contribution to the project which aims to transform the 1500 capacity main auditorium, which has been out of regular use since the early 1980s, along with other spaces within the complex into a multi-space, accessible venue supporting arts, community and events. 

The funding comes at an exciting time for the project. It follows a small grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund which has enabled the appointment of a design team to carry out an up-to-date Feasibility Study of the building and help with the development of plans and costs for the refurbishment. 2018 also promises another programme of exciting events which will see the main auditorium temporarily re-animated, kicking off with the return of the Hidden Door Festival on 25th May - 3rd June. 

Jack Hunter, Chair of the Leith Theatre Trust, which has been campaigning to save the venue since the Council proposed selling it in 2004, says: “This is fantastic news. The funding from the council will kick-start our drive towards assembling the full funding package required to deliver this vision of a vibrant complex, hosting cultural, entertainment, leisure, civic and educational events.”

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Opened in 1932, initially as a Town Hall, Leith Theatre was built in the aftermath of the union between Leith and Edinburgh and is often said to have been a gift to the people of Leith. It operated as a successful community hub until it was badly damaged by a parachute bomb in 1941. Eventually reopening in 1961, this time as a fully equipped Theatre, for the following two decades the venue played host to world class operas, composers and performing artists as a home for the Edinburgh International Festival and to international musical acts such as AC/DC, Kraftwerk and Thin Lizzy. The Council closed the building to regular use in 1983 although continued to operate as a venue for the Edinburgh International Festival until 1989.

Having been out of use for nearly thirty years the main auditorium is currently in a state of substantial disrepair. The Trust's vision for the building would see it brought back to life to host live music, theatre and large-scale cultural events while the smaller spaces in the venue continue to be the focus of community and commercial events including weddings, civic celebrations, workshops, classes, and corporate functions.

With the support from the Council the project has taken a significant first step towards fully realising the potential of this important public asset to once again be a creative, community hub for the people of Leith and the city of Edinburgh.

Michael Sheen wishes a Happy Birthday to Leith theatre.

85 years ago this week Leith Theatre, or Leith town Hall as it was then called and the adjoining Library opened their doors with an official opening from the then Lord Provost Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas B Whitson. The art deco space was for its time state of the art.

Leith Theatre has suffered many indignities since 20th July 1932.

She was bombed and badly damaged on 7th April 1941 and wasn’t restored for some time finally opening again in 1962. This was when Leith Town Hall was upgraded in status to Leith Theatre, the stage was raised and an elegant proscenium arch was designed and installed.

Sadly, once again the Auditorium fell into disuse in 1989 and has lain dormant all but forgotten for 28 years.

This year events such as Hidden Door, Boom Saloons “Creative Riot”, and Luke Pell’s “In the Ink Dark” have been shaking the bones of the now old lady, she’s been dusted and tickled. Her scars are all too obvious and her roof still leeks, but her charm and beauty is undeniable and Leith theatre this week on her 85th Birthday received a very special visit from Hollywood Star Michael Sheen, who couldn’t help but be enamoured and enthused by her faded splendour.

Leith Theatre is on its way to once again becoming a versatile and lively creative hub for Leith. Support its future by coming to gigs, festivals, exhibitions and events here, hiring the space for your events, volunteering, donating and spreading the word!

Happy Birthday Leith Theatre. We love you!

Getting set for Hidden Door Festival

Leith Theatre is transformed!

The team of volunteers at Hidden Door Festival with some support of Leith Theatre's volunteers have spent days and even months transforming the main theatre space, dressing rooms, corridors and the Thomas Morton Hall to get us to the point where we are set to open Hidden Door Festival tomorrow night!

There's a packed programme and you can browse and buy tickets at Hidden Door's website

Come and join us and explore spaces you've probably never seen before at Leith Theatre.