NEWS - Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre

Mabou Mines' DollHouse

Over its 100-year reign the King's has played host to dozens of Edinburgh International Festival shows, including the stunning Mabou Mines' DollHouse

The show must go on

Speculation continues about the future of Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre

Last week’s announcement that there was ‘no imminent threat’ of closure to Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre arrived amid increased fears that the space would have to close its doors to comply with safety regulations. With any major much-needed facelift unlikely to start before 2010, campaigners had feared the theatre would be forced to close down immediately as there are no plans, or indeed funding, for refurbishment.

In response to increased concerns from theatre workers and a well-supported online petition, Edinburgh City Council last week brought in independent experts to assess the situation. Engineering consultancy, Irons Foulner, who completed the survey, passed the theatre’s electrical equipment as fit for purpose for the next couple of years.

As one of Edinburgh’s most-established venues, the King’s has staged some of the world’s most exciting companies during its 100-year reign in the capital.

City culture leader Deidre Brock said of the rumoured closure: ‘As soon as we were made aware that this could be an issue by the management of the King’s, we made it our urgent business to investigate.’ She added: ‘The King’s is in need of investment and we are very keen to secure its future. We eagerly await a business case about the future of the venue, and once we receive that we can consider options and make realistic decisions based on the needs of the building and on what funds are available.’

Last night, theatre insiders said they were keen for the council to lay out their future plans in full. Many feared the battle was far from over, with lingering concerns about the theatre’s sanitation and disabled access.

One concerned theatre-goer said: ‘The King’s is an institution in Edinburgh and the strength of support from both the public and performers has been phenomenal, but it’s important for action and money to be put in place to ensure any potential threat is diverted for the future. There is still much to be discussed.’

At time of going to press, the council was still waiting for a full report, which promises to outline the needs of many of Edinburgh’s most popular spaces. Full-scale refurbishment of the King’s is already being estimated at around £20 million.

Rami Okasha, from the Save the King’s Theatre campaign, said the venue’s short-term future was still uncertain and called for locals to keep supporting the project. He said: ‘It’s great news that the electric work is better than expected. However, there are still concerns.’

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