Kings Edinburgh Embraces the Future! Arts News:
It was announced today by Capital Theatres, the company in charge of The Kings, The Festival and The Studio theatres in Edinburgh that the grand old lady of leven street is set to get a much need major revamp. A revamp that will bring this most loved and cherished of theatres into the 21st Century for audiences, performers and technicians alike and most importantly it will make the King’s a Jewel In the cities crown.
Opened in 1906 with a pantomime production of Cinderella the King’s has changed very little in the following 112 years, except for, in 1950 the Gallery (a fourth level of seating) was removed and the upper circle was extended back taking the seating capacity to 1300. The building itself especially the stage and backstage dressing rooms have remained unchanged and in somewhat sorry state of repair.
That’s all about to change! With the announcement of the architect for the project, Bennetts Associates and the unveiling of their initial designs for the building’s transformation. The unveiled designs for the redeveloped King’s Theatre show a design that retains the majesty of the original building but 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.
Joining Bennetts Associates as the appointed architect on the project will be Theatreplan, global theatre design and technical theatre consultancy specialists. Together Bennetts and Theatreplan are also working on the transformation of Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.
This bold project 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.
How will the King’s change?
- The transformation will create a new street level café and bar, accessible directly from Leven Street, along with an exciting new roof top hospitality space, providing spectacular 360-degree views of the City.
- Installation of lifts and ramps will enable visitors with mobility issues to be able to access all areas of the King’s for the first time.
- A brand-new learning studio will be created, providing a much-needed space for community engagement, and educational projects.
- The existing bars and foyers will be overhauled whilst retaining their heritage and charm providing flexible and enjoyable entertainment spaces for pre and post-performance.
- The stage will be flattened to attract world-class opera and dance so that we can offer a more diverse programme for our audiences. The orchestra pit will be rebuilt to support improved acoustics for opera and musicals.
- Essential repairs will be made to wiring, lighting and the safety curtain to make them fit for purpose, as well as improvements to set and scenery access to allow the building to work efficiently for the future.
- Back of house facilities like dressing rooms, wardrobe and the green room will be given a long overdue facelift
The King’s hold a unique place in many people’s hearts and memories and remains a towering presence in the Scottish arts scene and with a projected budget of £20- £25 Million to complete the challenge ahead is tough. However, with roughly half of the funds already secured it looks like this time the work really will begin. Redevelopment works are scheduled to begin in September 2021, with the theatre closed for 20 months, reopening summer 2023. Plans are already underway to move the Annual Panto (for the first time in its history) out of the Kings and to the Festival Theatre and Edinburgh’s local companies including Gang Show, SLO and Bohemians are also in conversation to make the trip to Nicholson Street.
Exciting times lie ahead for the King’s and in the not to distant future we will all see her sparkling once more.
King’s Theatre Edinburgh, for further information go to https://www.capitaltheatres.com/