Leith Theatre


December 2004

The former Leith Theatre, a Grade B listed building, stands behind Leith Library at the east end of Ferry Road.  It has lain empty since 1983.

Edinburgh City Council proposed in 2004 to sell the building to help fund the 14m repairs required for the King's Theatre at Tollcross in the centre of Edinburgh.

However, following protests from the people of Leith who did not want to see the site turned into offices or apartments, Edinburgh Council  agreed to await the outcome of a working group before taking any action. 

The working group, involving members of the Leith Festival, Port of Leith Housing Association and Leith Harbour Community Council has been set up to explore the possibility of the theatre being sold to a local community trust.

Suggested possible uses of the site include music venue, exhibition space, performance space, and bar-bistro.

Herald & Post, 30 December 2004,  p12

Update  -  March 2006

Task Force Proposals

A task force of community leaders, business people and festival organisers announced  today that they hope to persuade Edinburgh Council to hand over the running of Leith Theatre and the nearby Thomas Morton Hall to a community trust, to enable an arts complex to be created.

The task force produced computer-generated images showing how they might create:

-   a 600-seater theatre auditorium

-   a 150-space studio theatre

-   dance studios, artists' studios, a restaurant and caf-bar

Plans are being drawn up by Edinburgh-based architect, George Keith, architect of the Princes Square shopping centre in Glasgow.

Cash generated by Edinburgh Council from the sale of Leith Theatre had originally been earmarked for the repair of King's Theatre, but the King's Theatre project has now been delayed indefinitely due to difficulties in finding the 15m estimated to be needed of repairs and refurbishment.

Edinburgh Evening News:  March 2, 2006,  p10

Updates  -  April  2006

Rocket Shaped Building

The Leith Theatre Steering Group has announced a 9m plan to build a rocket-shaped 'Outlook Tower', as part of a new Leith Theatre Arts Complex at the corner of Ferry Road and North Junction Street, close to  Leith Library and the old Leith Theatre.

A mural on a gable end at North Junction Street, Leith, depicting Leith's historic connections with the sea, and one of three life-sized models of cavorting sailors

This site is at present an open plot of land, with a 'Cavorting Sailors' sculpture, a sailor rolling a barrel, set against a backdrop of a mural of the industrial history of Leith painted on a gable end of the Great Junction Street tenements.

The architect of the proposed new building is George Keith, who designed Princes Square shopping centre, Glasgow.

It is also proposed to build housing, a sculpture park, community garden and market area on a plot of land behind the old Leith Theatre, and to convert the theatre, built in 1929, into:

-  a 600-seat auditorium.

-  a 150-seat studio theatre.

-  2 dance studios.

-  several art galleries.

-  rehearsal spaces.


Proposals for the new building were welcomed by Leith councillor, Phil Attridge, who said:  "The plans for the new tower are great and I think they actually  really fit in with the local area.  It almost looks like a lighthouse or a ship."

One of Edinburgh citizens questioned by the Evening News said:  "It's a good thing for Leith.  It looks like a rocket-ship. It'll be good for the people of Leith because half of them are on another planet."

Edinburgh Evening News:  April 10, 2006,  p21


Historic Scotland have agreed, in April 2006, to provide almost 500,000 towards the rescue of Leith Theatre.

The City of Edinburgh Council is expected to agree in May 2006 to allocate 20,000 towards the cost of a feasibility study into the creation of a new theatre complex.

Leith Theatre is one of six buildings in Leith due to be restored at a total cost of 9m under the Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Edinburgh Evening News:  April 21, 2006:  p24
Edinburgh Evening News:  May 4, 2006:  p.16



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