Call from Big Guns in Arts World to Save King’s Theatre After News of Funding Gap

As the Festival season approaches its end, the King’s Theatre that is due to close soon to make way for a major redevelopment, has learned of a funding gap that threatens its future. If this funding gap is not closed before December 2022 the King’s Theatre could close its doors forever, meaning that the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) will lose a key venue and Edinburgh will lose a key cultural hub for its communities.

CEO of Capital Theatres Fiona Gibson said As the Edinburgh International Festival closes we’re scheduled to begin 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 £25 million to transform the King’s is in place thanks to grants from the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund; generous donations from our patrons and donors, companies and trusts; as well as Capital Theatres’ own contribution and our recent Crowdfunder. 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, we estimate that the project costs will increase by between 20% and 30%. 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 this funding gap is not closed before December 2022, the last opportunity for us to give the go-head, the King’s could close its doors forever.

We are in close contact with all our key public funders and hope to secure additional support to ensure that this transformative redevelopment for Tollcross, Edinburgh and Scottish Theatre can proceed as planned, and a better, brighter King’s Theatre can reopen its doors for generations to come.”

Adding support from fellow stellar performers such as Alan Cumming, Gabriel Byrne, and King’s Honorary Patron Brian Cox, international star James Thierrée, who returned to the King’s with his latest show Roomas part of EIF this year said “I have a very huge affection for The King’s Theatre – it feels like a vessel that’s been on the sea for many years. I feel theatres like these are the real temples today – of the mind, of the imagination – and they have to be taken care of, cherished and protected.”

The current funding model for the King’s Redevelopment comprises grants from the Scottish Government (£6.5m), City of Edinburgh Council (£4m), National Lottery Heritage Fund (£1.9m) and a further £3m raised from our incredibly supportive patrons and donors, companies and trusts with Capital Theatres contributing £4.4 million and a £5 million prudential loan.

Funding from these public bodies, including a contribution from the UK Government and generous donations, have helped to get the project this far but increased support to see this project over the line is needed.

Find out more: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/kings-finishing-line

Irene Brown

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