The story so far...
Betrayal, forgiveness, love, war, neglect, despair, hope, healing... a new beginning.
Our humble theatre has definitely had its ups and downs, but let's start at the beginning, shall we?
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. Huge success! The entire complex was gorgeous and well loved. BUT all is fair in love and war, and now the war came.
In 1941 the Main Auditorium suffered bomb damage and remained dormant for the following two decades.
In 1961 the theatre was finally ready to make its glorious debut once more. The theatre was used by the Edinburgh International Festival from 1961 to 1968, allowing legendary theatre directors Yukio Ninawagea and Yuri Lyubimov to grace the stage.
The 70s rolled in and brought with them a whole new type of life for the theatre. A wide variety of famous artists and bands, including Mott the Hoople, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy and Kraftwerk. And The Wombles. There is more information about the gigs performed at the Edinburgh Gig Archive.
For much of the 80s Leith Theatre continued to host the Edinburgh International festival. But, alas, in 1988 the curtain was finally drawn and the beautiful venue was neglected falling into disrepair.
Just kidding... In 2004 a plucky, rag tag-group of do-gooders, known as the Leith Theatre Trust, stopped the sale of the theatre for residential development. Through sheer grit and determination they petitioned for years until finally in 2016 they were granted a 5 year lease with an agreement in principle for a further 30 years.
Since then we have been working our socks off to get this place back up and running. And the good news is that the patience, resilience, determination and know-how of Leith community members has paid off!
With 2 very successful Hidden Door festivals under our belt, Fly Club Nights, Neu! Reekie! T2, StrangeTown for the Leith Festival, the much anticipated return of the Edinburgh International Festival and no sign of slowing down!!
Dare we say it...