Lyceum buzzing – official

Jun 20 2017 | By More

Theatre’s a hive of green activity

As if the tenure of David Greig as artistic director of the Royal Lyceum was not creating enough of a buzz, the theatre has now taken delivery of two hives of bees as permanent residents.

The hives, housing about 70,000 individual bees, have been placed on the theatre’s roof in the lee of its soaring fly-tower and in sight – if not in the shadow – of Edinburgh Castle.

Moving in. Pic: Royal Lyceum

The move is just one part of the Lyceum’s ongoing green initiative. The theatre is inviting the public to adopt a bee or sponsor a whole hive and all funds raised will go towards making The Lyceum more environmentally sustainable.

Over the next five years the Lyceum aims to replace its diesel-fuelled company vehicle with an electric one, install LED lights throughout the Front of House areas and replace the theatre’s ageing boiler system in favour of a more efficient system that will significantly reduce carbon impact.

Edinburgh restaurant Dine, which is just round the corner at Saltire Court, has already sponsored one hive. The theatre hopes to provide the brasserie with harvested honey for use in their food and cocktails.

Brian Pool transferring the bees from their transportation box into their new hive. Pic Royal Lyceum

The person in charge of the hives is Brian Pool of West Linton-based Scottish Honey, who is a third-generation professional beekeeper with 40 years of experience. The Lyceum is the first first theatre he has worked with, although he has hives with The Balmoral, St Andrew’s House, and Royal Botanic Gardens.

He says “The Lyceum’s roof is now home to 70,000 bees who have settled in very nicely – you wouldn’t even know they were there. With access to Princes Street Gardens and the Meadows to collect nectar and pollen, we’re looking forward to collecting some delicious Lyceum Honey.”

Sponsorship of the bees starts with £1 for an individual worker bee – the female bees who forage up to two miles from the hive collecting nectar and pollen to make honey. For £5 you can feel empathy with one of the stinger-free male drones who don’t collect any nectar or pollen but mainly exist to fertilise the Queen.

The queen has been marked with a yellow spot to make her easier to find. Pic: Royal Lyceum

For a donation of £50, you can sponsor a queen. She is simply one of the worker bees that has been fed royal jelly when they are developing. Her job is basically to lay eggs. There is normally only one adult queen in a hive and the other bees will usually follow and fiercely protect her.

If you have £500 to spare then the other hive, the not already sponsored by Dine, could be under your financial guardianship.


Royal Lyceum Adopt a Bee page:

Scottish Honey on facebook: ScottishHoney.

Dine Edinburgh website:


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