Leith Theatre was built for the people of Leith ‘as a gift from the people of Edinburgh’, and opened in 1932. The Category B listed building, that lay empty from 1988 until 2016, is part of a complex that includes Leith Library, the Registrar’s Office and the Thomas Morton Hall. Although it has been threatened by residential development, Leith Theatre complex is being restored to provide spaces for a variety of performances, events and classes.
Leith Theatre is one of six theatres to receive funding through the second round of the Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme, run by the national advisory body for theatres. This grant, awarded to the Leith Theatre Trust, amounts to £11,000 and will go to support business planning, leadership training and a package of consultancy work to strengthen its operation. Alongside the funding, the theatre will receive support and advice from the Theatres Trust advice team.
While there is still much work to be done to enable the building to fully re-open, programme, and operate on a permanent basis, this funding will provide mentoring consultancy works, accounts and leadership training, and a package of consultancy expertise work covering financial, marketing / fundraising, audience development and community membership, and stakeholder engagement.
Executive Director of Leith Theatre Trust Lynn Morrison said, “We are delighted to receive this funding and most especially at this time. We are a Theatre at Risk and a business start-up, with major refurbishment and construction needs. This funding allows us to prioritise strategic next steps for Leith Theatre and invest in expertise to work with us to support our business planning. The timing could not be more perfect and will help to build confidence at this time as we plan for what will be a new future.”
In line with current Government restrictions, Leith Theatre is currently closed but is supporting wider community activities from the theatre as much as possible. These include working with the local foodbank, hosting NHS Blood Banks and partnering with local primary schools. They plan to re-open for the community as a better resource and an improved building for the future.
The other theatres receiving funding are Brighton Hippodrome, Derby Hippodrome, Granada in Walthamstow, Groundings Theatre in Portsmouth and Streatham Hill Theatre.