King’s redevelopment latest

Mar 28 2024 | By | 2 Replies More

King’s Theatre upgrade approaches half way

The major redevelopment of the King’s theatre has reached the halfway mark, with the project nearly 50% complete according to Capital Theatres, the charity which runs the building.

To mark the milestone, the charity has released a new film of that regular panto baddy, vinyl records legend and denizen of River City, Grant Stott, donning the hard hat of inquisitiveness and going off on a walking tour behind the scenes of the upgrade.

The renovation has reached the point where most of the necessary demolition work has been completed. Now, the construction of the new spaces, front of house, on stage and back stage can begin.

Stott is seen walking through the auditorium, filled with scaffolding instead of seats. The floor of the stalls has been excavated to make room for the new Pit Bar which will be built below the stalls, and scaffolding has been erected in preparation for the restoration of the dome designed by the late John Byrne.

Front of house, Stott climbs up the grand main stairs, now carefully encased against being damaged in the upgrade, and visits the space where the iconic island bar once stood.


At the back of the Upper Circle he visits the area where the new ladies’ and gents’ toilets will be and peers into the space where a double helix of concrete fire escapes once rose to the upper circle. These are being replaced with new staircases and lifts to all levels providing an accessible journey from street to seat and street to stage.

Looking out into the auditorium space of the Edinburgh King’s from the Grand Circle. Pic: Anneleen Lindsay January 2024

Stott even reaches the roof of the building and, having paused to take in the view (as you would), he examines the naked steel frame that will house a new fly tower.

At an extra 4.5m – about the height of a Lothian Buses double decker – above the current roof, the new fly tower will double the weight of scenery that can be flown in and out of the audience’s sight.

This crucial update, alongside the new flat stage and updated engineering, will enable the King’s to attract a greater variety of productions than ever before.

audio description

The back of the Upper Circle will also house sound and lighting control rooms and new audio description and captioning rooms. This means that, for the first time in the building’s history, the King’s will have dedicated facilities to provide audio description of performances for visually impaired customers and captioning for D/deaf customers.

Still from the video showing the steel frame for the King’s new fly tower. Pic: Niall MacTaggart.

The little seen attic space above the front-of house bars has been stripped out to make way for a new, double-height Creative Engagement space. At ground level, structural work has started next to the old Box Office in preparation for a new on-street café

Fiona Gibson, Chief Executive of Capital Theatres said: “It is incredibly exciting to be almost at the halfway point of the King’s Theatre redevelopment project. This is a particularly significant moment because the end of the demolition work is in sight, and the new features of the theatre are taking shape.

dramatic progress

“As one of our beloved panto stars, there really was no one better than Grant Stott to feature in our new film and walk our audiences through the dramatic progress taking place throughout the theatre.

“We are privileged to be the current custodians of the King’s Theatre and remain immensely grateful for the support of our funders, partners and audience members as we preserve this magnificent heritage building for the next generation.”

The project is planned for completion in 2025, in time for the King’s to be used during the Edinburgh International Festival of that year.

The King’s Edinburgh Grand Circle, stripped out. Pic: Anneleen Lindsay January 2024


Tags: , , , ,

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. David Stock says:

    Small chance, I fear – I am writing an edinburgh bestiary and am almost ready to have it printed BUT I have learned of a BAT image on one of the door fittings for the old art nouveau main door, presumably a door handle or door plate.

    Is there any wwy I can be allowed in to see it and photograph it…or have you or someone there get access and take a photo for me…more than a mere 50kb the image?

    Otherwise my book may be incomplete.and I am getting too old to wait much longer!

    David Stock

    • Thom Dibdin says:

      Hello David,
      I know that Analeen Lindsay has been taking photographs during the whole project for Capital Theatres. You could contact her through them to see if she has taken an image of it. I suspect that the main door will be all wrapped up to protect it at the moment.
      Happy hunting

Your comments