City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

King’s Theatre Redevelopment Campaign Announces Architect and Future Designs


By Irene Brown - Posted on 06 November 2018

Visualisation front elevation corner by Bennetts Associates.jpg

Capital Theatres, the charitable trust which runs the Festival and King’s Theatres and The Studio, has officially launched the King’s Theatre Edinburgh Redevelopment Campaign. The launch announced the architect for the project as Bennetts Associates and included the unveiling of the firm’s initial designs for the building’s transformation.

These plans show a design that retains the majesty of the original 112 years old building reimagined for the 21st century. The images, a cross-section of the re-imagined building and a front side view showing the building’s depth down Tarvit Street, capture a design that makes optimum use of the space available in the original 1906 building and the scope to create additional front of house space including a stunning roof terrace with views across the city skyline.

The resulting change will mean opening hours being doubled; an anticipated 50% increase in annual visitor figures; the creation of over 100 volunteering roles and a contribution of £15m in economic impact per year for Edinburgh.

Edinburgh ‘s King’s Theatre is one of Scotland’s oldest and most loved theatres and one of a handful of Grade A listed theatres in the UK that has still to have a major redevelopment. It is the only surviving operational theatre by the architects Swanston and Davidson that the new project will preserve and revitalise generations to come.

This bold project, resulting in repair, enhancement and expansion, will overhaul the interior and exterior of the theatre to enrich the audience experience and create a renewed sense of destination for the King’s Theatre. Transformation of the King’s will reinvigorate the artistic programme by providing the facilities to attract the very best productions to the city, such as a new street level café and bar, the installation of lifts and a brand-new learning studio. Existing bars and foyers will be overhauled whilst retaining their heritage and charm. The stage will be flattened to attract world-class opera and dance and the orchestra pit will be rebuilt to support improved acoustics. Other improvements such as back of house facilities and essential repairs to wiring, lighting and the safety curtain are also part of the development.

Bennetts Associates, one of the UK’s leading architectural practices, is responsible for several cultural projects including Storyhouse, Chester and the extension to Shaftesbury Theatre, London, both of which received RIBA National Awards this year.

Joining Bennetts Associates on the project will be global theatre design and technical theatre consultancy specialists Theatreplan, who, with Bennetts, are also working on the transformation of Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre.

Duncan Hendry, Chief Executive of Capital Theatres said, “We are delighted to have appointed Bennetts Associates to lead the design team who will transform the King’s Theatre over the next few years. Bennetts have extensive experience of redeveloping theatres and heritage buildings across the UK and we were impressed by the elegance of their initial designs. We look forward to working with them to deliver a stunning building.

The King’s Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many people from Edinburgh and further afield. The King’s really is ‘Everyone’s Theatre’ and throughout this exciting redevelopment project we hope people will help us secure the future of their theatre. In early 2019 we will provide ways in which people can engage with, give opinion and support the project.”

The project will cost in the region of £20million, £5m of which are already in place from Capital Theatres and £4m from the City of Edinburgh Council. Remaining funds will be sourced from a fundraising campaign, applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and other grant making trusts as well as statutory bodies.

For more information about the King’s Theatre redevelopment and how you can support the fundraising campaign please go to www.capitaltheatres.com/support or call 0131 622 8087