Big names in the world of art and entertainment, with connections to the King’s Theatre, have pledged their support to the £25 million capital campaign to regenerate the King’s and by extension the Tollcross area of the city centre. They include John Byrne, Andy Gray, Bill Paterson, Ian Rankin, Elaine C Smith, Allan Stewart and Grant Stott and will be known as Cultural Ambassadors.
The King’s Theatre is one of Scotland's oldest and most loved theatres. It opened in 1906 so is now over 110 years old and in dire need of major redevelopment to bring it up to twenty first century standards and to meet the needs of modern audiences.
Painter and playwright John Byrne, who created the magnificent dome in the King’s auditorium says, “I will endeavour to do a good job as I love the King's and have done down the many years we have gone to see a great many of the wonderful productions there.”
The Festival City Theatres Trust, the charitable organisation that runs the Festival and King’s Theatres, plans to transform the historic building to modernise and preserve it for generations to come. The charm and heritage of the Edwardian auditorium will be retained and its front of house and backstage facilities will be modernised to create a vibrant theatre which attracts the best performing companies.
As Scotland’s largest independent theatre organisation, Festival and King’s Theatres support equal access to the arts and deliver an extensive creative learning programme to encourage and engage those who normally would not, or could not otherwise come to our theatres. In 2016-17, over 12,393 children, young people and adults from 18 months to 92 years old, took part in their learning and participation programme.
The Festival and King’s Theatres are at the heart of the Edinburgh Festivals in the world’s leading festival city and welcome prestigious local, national and international companies to their theatres to present a diverse programme of the very best drama, dance, musical theatre, children’s shows and of course their famous annual pantomime.
Broadcaster, actor and panto star Grant Stott says, "Every role I’ve played at The King’s has been special, for so many reasons, but to have been invited to be a Cultural Ambassador for the Kings Capital Campaign is something that I am so very proud of. I care so much about this building and to play any part in helping to get her back shining once again is nothing but a complete honour."
The campaign to transform the King’s Theatre is supported by a Campaign Board made up of prominent figures from the Scottish business community. The Board members so far appointed are: Guy Cameron, Chief Investment Officer of Cameron Hume; Simon Mackintosh, Chairman of Turcan Connell; Andrew Milligan OBE, Head of Global Strategy of Standard Life Aberdeen; Dame Joan Stringer FRSE, former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University; and Karyn Watt, Head of Infrastructure and a partner at Anderson Strathearn.
The Festival and King’s Theatres and their programme are supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland.