King’s Singers

Sep 6 2021 | By More

Southern Light opens public fundraising for the King’s

Southern Light Opera will be opening its 125th season this week with four performances at the Festival Theatre of a greatest hits package, in support of the King’s Theatre redevelopment funding campaign.

SLO, which has called the King’s Theatre its home since 1925, is relocating to the larger auditorium of the Festival Theatre for the show, Southern Light Sings for the King’s, which will run Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 September, with a matinee on the Saturday.

The Act 1 finale from Anything Goes at the King’s in March 2020. Pic: Ryan Buchanan

The company staged one of the last pre-pandemic shows at the King’s with its five star production of Anything Goes. For the fundraiser, it is promising a production of toe-tapping musical entertainment, which will dip into some of the best loved numbers from its many hits, including Me and My Girl, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz and Brigadoon.

Pointing out that the histories of the SLO and King’s theatre have been intertwined for nearly a century, the company’s president Jonathan Tait said: “it is an honour to be able to help them at this exciting part of the theatre’s history.”

He added: “We are privileged to have had the opportunity to perform in a building that means so much to the people of Edinburgh and we are delighted that we are playing a part in ensuring others will get that opportunity in the future.”

While the Festival and Playhouse theatres might have larger auditoriums, it is the Grand old Lady of Leven Street which has been home to Edinburgh’s most popular theatrical offering, the annual pantomime.

in need of a full makeover

The King’s has been in need of a full makeover for many years. In recent times the auditorium has been revamped, but now Capital Theatres which runs the King’s and Festival theatres has come up with a £25 million project to rejuvenate and improve the back-stage and front of house areas.

Cross section of proposed King’s Theatre refurbishment. Image: Bennetts Associates

Fiona Gibson, CEO of Capital Theatres said she is “moved and inspired by Southern Light’s commitment to the King’s transformational redevelopment project.

“Not only will Southern Light Sings for the King’s be a barnstorming evening of music and dance, it will also encapsulate how much of a treasure the theatre is now to the people of Edinburgh, and will continue to be so for generations to come in its new and improved form.

“Our vision for The King’s future is a thriving community hub by day, and a stage worthy of the very finest performances by night, and Southern Light fully embodies these two aspirations.”

The redevelopment project has gone beyond the planning stage, with 88% of the £25 million funding in place, thanks to a variety of grants from government, council and charities.

kicking off in a razzle-dazzle style

The final element of the project is to raise £2.9 million in a public fundraising campaign. And it is this which SLO is kicking off in a razzle-dazzle style with Southern Light Sings for the King’s.

Of course, the unfamiliar stage at the Festival Theatre is far from being the company’s only challenge in the last 14 months of planning, as Jonathan Tait is quick to point out. But the company has been as resilient as ever in coming up with solutions.

“Clearly the pandemic has made the rehearsal process more challenging than usual,” he says, “but the creation of an outdoor rehearsal space, adaptable to all weathers, and an array of COVID protection measures, along with much grit and determination, means the show has come together.

“Also, by working with the theatre on this exciting project and by keeping an open mind this has been very rewarding and we hope that the people of Edinburgh come along for a great night of entertainment to help such a worthy cause.”

Fiona Gibson adds: “We hope that audiences will dig deep to ensure that Southern Light will be performing on our special King’s stage for another 100 years and beyond.  We can’t thank them enough for their generosity of spirit in helping us turn this vision into reality.”


Southern Light Sings for the Kings
Festival Theatre 13/29 Nicolson Street EH8 9FT. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Thurs 9 – Sat 11 Sept 2021
Evenings: 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.


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