Edinburgh King’s Theatre redevelopment project calls for funding

Edinburgh King’s Theatre redevelopment project calls for funding

Capital Theatres has announced that it is working with the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the UK Government to ensure the King’s Theatre doesn’t close its doors forever after the Edinburgh facility lost out on the UK Government’s levelling up funding.

As reported at the end of August 2022, when the King’s Theatre closed in preparation for its transformational redevelopment, a funding gap has placed the King’s future in peril.

A total of £26 million has been successfully fundraised, but inflation, global conflict and changing trading agreements means that the project will cost an estimated £8.9m more.

If this money is not found before the building is due to be signed over to the contractors in 35 days, Capital Theatres said it will not be able to keep the project on track and costs will spiral.

Funding from public bodies and generous donations have helped to get the project get this far but increased support from statutory funders, Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the UK Government is now required to see this project over the line.

Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres, said: “This really is the last chance saloon for the King’s. It’s been a long road planning and fundraising for the capital redevelopment of the King’s Theatre to turn it into both a thriving community hub, fully accessible to audiences and performers, and a world-class venue while maintaining its history and heritage.

“Nearly all the original capital cost estimate of £26m to transform the King’s is in place thanks to grants from the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund; generous donations from our patrons and donors, companies and trusts; as well as Capital Theatres’ own contribution. We are incredibly proud of the collective effort to reach this figure.

“However, as with all construction projects in the UK currently, we are facing new challenges because of delays in supply chain caused by changing trading agreements, global conflict, and increasing levels of inflation. Due to these factors, it has emerged in the last few months that the project costs will increase by an estimated £8.9m. We’ve examined our options and we cannot reduce the project cost any further by value engineering and to delay the redevelopment could lead to even higher costs in the long term, putting the entire project at risk. If the money is not found in the next few weeks, the last opportunity for us to greenlight the project, the King’s could close its doors forever.

“We know what a difficult time this is to be asking for additional funding with so much financial need in every area of civic life, but as custodians of this beloved theatre, we have to fight for its survival.

“From the moment the funding gap emerged we have been in close contact and working with key funders including the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the UK Government. We need their support to deliver this transformative redevelopment for Tollcross, Edinburgh, and Scottish Theatre, ensuring the King’s Theatre is there for generations to come.”

Councillor Val Walker, culture and communities convener, added: “While we’re disappointed not to have been successful in this round of the Levelling Up fund, we look forward to continuing dialogue and exploring any opportunities open to help secure the future of the Kings Theatre.”

Brian Cox, honorary patron of the King’s Theatre, commented: “The King’s is vital to the Scottish Theatre ecology and a key touring venue which brings a variety of genres to the central belt; not to mention a source of comfort and joy in panto season.

“Without the planned transformational redevelopment improving access, preserving heritage and opening the building up to the community, the King’s will close its doors forever. After a hugely successful fundraising effort to reach the original budgeted cost of £26m, we cannot let the rising costs due to inflation, trade agreements, and global conflict put the project in peril. We must save the King’s for future generations.”

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