Theatre News: Edinburgh King’s and Festival Theatres at risk of closure

The King’s and Festival Theatres in Edinburgh have written to the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warning of their risk of closure because of their inability to access financial relief as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The theatres, which are both managed by Capital Theatres, have warned their future is in “serious doubt.”

The King’s Theatre, which has greeted individuals including Sean Connery and Billy Connolly, has seen a 90% fall in its income.

The letter from the board’s chair, Joan Stringer and Fiona Gibson, the chief executive of Capital Theatres, has been signed by producers and companies across the UK including Cameron Mackintosh, choreographer Matthew Bourne, and Michale Harrison of Qdos Entertainment.

Capital Theatres employs 230 people across Edinburgh, with the company saying they face the choice of closing the King’s Theatre or making some of their staff redundant. 

Currently, the company is only able to pay staff using the £2.6 million it had set aside in its redevelopment fund, which it expects by March 2021 will have cost them £1 million.

Capital Theatres was dropped from Creative Scotland’s list of Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) in 2018, because its business model was seen to be resilient, meaning it could only access a maximum grant of £250,000. 

Words by Noah Keate.


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