King’s AmDram hire rates frozen

Jul 15 2012 | By More

Hendry declares commitment to amateur companies

By Thom Dibdin

Duncan Hendry, Chief Executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust

Duncan Hendry: “I have already decided that the hire rates will be frozen for the next year or two”.

Hire rates for amateur companies at Edinburgh’s King’s and Festival theatres are to be frozen “for the next year or two”, the new Chief Executive of the Festival City Theatre Trust has told the Annals.

Duncan Hendry, who joined the Trust in April from Aberdeen Performing Arts, used the opportunity of last week’s relaunch and rebranding of the King’s and Festival theatres and their websites to emphasise the importance to the Trust of the community and amateur groups which use the two venues.

He said: “We are very keen to work with the amateur companies, and we are discussing ways to work with them to make both venues affordable for them. We are very very keen to work with local community groups as well as the national and international organisations.”

Over a normal year, the King’s is particularly well used by Edinburgh’s amateur companies. The Edinburgh Gang Show has a regular slot in November, with musical productions from the  Bohemians, the Edinburgh Gilbert and Sullivan Society and the Southern Light Opera company in the Spring. Edinburgh Grand Opera normally use the Festival theatre – although their recent production of Carmen was staged at the Royal Lyceum – as do community groups such as the Pilrig Park School and Telford College.

Hendry says that he wants to discuss all aspects of the companies’ use of the theatres with them. He said “The first thing we are going to do is have a meeting with each of them and talk about what we can do to help them. It is not just the cost, but things like helping them get more audience in, looking at the structure of the week that they are with us and how they structure that week.

“There are lots of ways we can work with them to make it: one a better show and two, more affordable. So we are meeting up with each of the regular amateur companies that work in these venues to talk about what we can do for them to make their visit better. I am very keen to do that. It is something I did a lot of in Aberdeen and I made a very strong relationship with  the amateur companies there so I know that is important to these situations.

“I know the issues that they have and it is always hard for them to make a show work financially in a big theatre so we will be trying to do anything we can do to make that more viable for them. I have already decided that the hire rates will be frozen for the next year or two. There are also ways that we can help in terms of the technical charges and stuff like that. If we look at things well in advance then we can work out ways to do it that will be less expensive.”

Festival City Theatres Trust website for the King’s and Festival theatres:


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Comments (3)

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  1. Gordon Blackburn says:

    I believe that The Bohemians have not appeared in the King’s for a few years now.

  2. Thom Dibdin says:

    Thanks Gordon.

    Yes, that is a tricky one – the Bohemians’ next production – Jekyll and Hyde – is at the Church Hill but the company state on their website that: “Every year the Company provides over 50 people from all walks of life with the opportunity to work with dynamic and experienced directors, musical directors and technicians presenting large-scale productions as part of Festival City Theatres Amateur Season in The King’s Theatre, one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious venues.”

    The Bohemians went to the Church Hill in 2011 for Guys and Dolls as the King’s was going to be dark – I’m not certain whether the move will be permanent or whether they will return to the King’s in 2014. I certainly hope that Duncan Hendry will include them in his round of meetings.

  3. Gordon Blackburn says:

    Thanks Tom. Hopefully they will be able to come back to the King’s Theatre