Help Save the King’s

Sep 17 2020 | By More

Capital Theatres in desperate straits

Edinburgh’s Festival, King’s and Studio theatres have put out an emergency appeal for money and vocal support, in the face of going dark permanently.

Capital Theatres, the charity which runs the three venues, launched a Crowdfunder fundraiser for £50,000 on Monday 14 September 2020, so it can re-open the theatres when it is safe to do so – and to ensure continued access to the arts for Edinburgh’s most vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The King’s Theatre. Pic: Mike Hume

The fundraiser (click here to open in a new page) passed its initial target of £35,000 in a day. It has a number theatre-related rewards, from a £15 signed panto programme, to a £50 “raid the theatre bar” (over-18s only), a £150, two-person trip to the Fly Floor and a £500 VIP package for four at the Festival Theatre.

The charity has also started a petition at (open here), calling on the Scottish Government to recognise the scale of emergency at Capital Theatres.

The moves follow repeated appeals from Capital Theatres that they are put in an invidious “double jeopardy” position due to the reserves built up to spend on refurbishing the King’s theatre – see Threat to King’s Refurb.

stark warning

Only last week, on 9 September 2020, CEO Fiona Gibson sent a stark warning to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that without emergency funds it will either have to sack workers or risk the King’s theatre closing for good (King’s Double Jeopardy).

The charity is campaigning to receive emergency Government funding: “at the same level as other publicly supported theatres, which would allow us to continue to play our part in Edinburgh’s year-round thriving arts scene and support the local and national economy.”

A message from Capital Theatres’ CEO Fiona Gibson.

Although the three venues have not been able to open for performances, Capital Theatres has been keeping up its commitment community engagement during the Covid pandemic.

On the Crowdfunder page it says: “As a charitable organisation, we strive to make the arts accessible for all through our extensive Learning and Participating programme, and to provide our local community with health and wellbeing benefits.

“During this difficult time, we have continued to engage with the wider community online. Our extensive new digital engagement programme ‘Raise the Curtain’ offers wide-ranging opportunities for people to engage with the arts safely from home, from dementia friendly online music concerts, storytelling projects with Special Needs Schools and performance workshops with care experienced young adults.

“During June and July alone, we engaged with over 600 people each week through our digital activities.”


Currently 92% of the charity’s staff are furloughed, to save costs, with the remaining skeleton staff working from home. However, the furlough scheme is due to end soon and it is facing a massive £3.4 million loss of income due to the cancellation of the King’s Panto this year.

However, the charity says that, with support, it can make a comeback within six months.

“We are currently planning to have performances back on our stages by Spring 2021, but social distancing measures currently in place would mean our theatres could only open at around 20% capacity which isn’t financially viable.

“Without significant external help, we will struggle to survive this prolonged period of closure with no ticket income. We need funding to continue delivering our work behind closed doors and to prepare the theatres to reopen when we are able to safely do so.”

The petition page has further details, while the Crowdfunder has some great rewards and more information as well. Follow on Social Media for updates (and heartfelt messages of support).


Donate to the Crowdfunder here: @capital-theatres-edinburgh-saveourtheatres

Sign the petition here: Change.Org

Capital Theatres Social media:
Facebook: @CapTheatres
Twitter: @CapTheatres


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