Leitheatre’s £5k appeal

May 25 2022 | By More

Crowdfunding appeal to cover cancelation losses

Cancelling The Odd Couple because of Covid in the cast has cost Leitheatre dearly, the company has revealed as it has set up a crowdfunding appeal to cover its costs.

However, in an unexpected and very welcome move – and just as it was gritting its teeth to raise close to £5,000 – Capital Theatres has contributed to the crowdfunded in kind by offsetting some of the cost of hiring the venue, which is the major expense of the cancellation.

Leitheatre was founded in the Kirkgate in 1946.

“We are over the moon,” one member of Leitheatre told Æ when they heard the news. “Honestly, this makes such a difference. Our treasurer was in tears.”

The feared £5,000 cost was already reduced from what it might have been. Leitheatre has managed to get the performing licence fee returned and, thanks to a generous agreement, the printing costs have been cancelled.

Despite the good news, this still leaves the company thousands of pounds out of pocket. These are costs it would normally be able to absorb. However, the unexpected cost of cancelling the production comes at the end of a period when it has been forced to be inactive because of the pandemic.

Not only has it not been able to raise income to cover the ongoing costs of maintaining and running its premises, but the costs of staging shows post pandemic have risen considerably.

Everyone who had tickets to see The Odd Couple will have got their money back from the Capital Theatres. However, they can still use their Odd Couple tickets to get into EPT’s production of A Tomb with a View at the Church Hill Theatre. EPT will not be charging for these admissions but are asking such audience members to donate their reimbursed money to Leitheatre.

Anyone wishing to help ensure the future of the Leitheatre is asked to make a donation through its Just Giving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/leitheatre

Leitheatre’s History

Leitheatre was founded in 1946 in Kirkgate Church in Leith by a group of people interested in drama and encouraged by the Rev James Scott Marshall under the banner of the Kirkgate Drama Group.

The company’s first production was a double bill in March 1946, consisting of The Call of the Glen and Mary’s Sister John.

Originally their work was of a religious nature, but it soon broadened into a more general repertoire under the direction of Jim Alexander. Both a pre-eminent member of the Scottish Community Drama Association and an outstanding director, he established high standards and was the mainstay of the group throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

The group presented its performances in the Kirkgate Church hall up until 1973 when the church was amalgamated with South Leith Church. Complications over obtaining a theatre license for the shared South Leith hall forced the company to seek venues elsewhere.

new identity

As the company was now no-longer affiliated to the Kirkgate Church a change of name was called for and Leitheatre was finally christened, providing it with a new identity which still reflected its Leith roots.

Further church mergers in the 1970s offered the club an opportunity to move into larger rehearsal and storage facilities in the old Hillside Church in Greenside Place, beside the Playhouse Theatre, and “relishing the challenge of more ambitious productions” the group changed its performance venue to the Church Hill Theatre.

However, when the rehearsal space was earmarked for redevelopment in the 1990s, the company became itinerant, storing its sets where ever it could. This ad-hoc situation came to a head in 1997, when it was evicted from its storage facilities.

At the point of becoming homeless, Leitheatre nonetheless succeeded in buying its own premises at 20 Sunnyside, off Easter Road which has become its permanent home, with the addition of the adjacent property at 22 Sunnyside, which was purchased in 2001.

All Edinburgh Theatre sends best wishes to all associated with Leitheatre and looks forward to reviewing its productions for many years to come.

Support Leitheatre:
Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/leitheatre
Leitheatre website: https://www.leitheatre.com
Facebook page: @Leitheatre.
Twitter: @LeitheatreEdin.


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