Theatre refurbishment fit for a King
Published Thursday 2 August 2012
Visitors to Edinburgh’s beloved King’s Theatre can look forward to a brighter, cooler and altogether more comfortable experience following an initial £2.6 million refurbishment.
The restoration project focused on improving the visitor experience while carrying out essential improvements to the fabric of the building. Works were completed in June, having begun on site in September 2011, although the theatre was able to remain open until the end of pantomime season in January.
Theatre goers will get their first taste of the refreshed venue when it opens its doors to the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival on 11th August.
Funded by The City of Edinburgh Council, Historic Scotland and The Nancie Massey Trust, works encompassed essential external works, including a new roof and extensive stonework repairs, redecoration of the main foyer and stairs, a new box office, new carpets in the main public areas, improved facilities for wheelchair users and improved ventilation to the auditorium.
New seats were made and installed in the Stalls and Dress Circle by Essex-based theatre seating specialists Kirwin and Simpson. They are replicas of a 'lazarus' style seat, popular in the 1900s, and offer more leg-room and comfort. Seating in parts of the Upper Circle has also been improved.
Of the new works only the box office has a contemporary look. Its improved facilities include an increased ticket sales area and a more visible presence from the street. All other works to public areas have been undertaken with a view to restoring the theatre to its original grandeur and aesthetic.
Culture and Leisure Convener, Cllr Richard Lewis, said: "From The Royal Shakespeare Company to the Gang Show, from the best of London's West End to Stanley Baxter, the Grand Old Lady of Leven Street has been a firm Edinburgh favourite for over a century. This essential investment will ensure that audiences of all ages can continue to enjoy shows at the King's in comfort for many more years to come."
Duncan Hendry, Chief Executive of the Festival City Theatres Trust, added: "The first stage of the restoration project has made significant improvements to the front of house areas and the auditorium. I'm sure our audiences will see and feel a real difference and we look forward to welcoming them back. Our thanks to the City of Edinburgh Council for their substantial investment of £2.1million and continuing support."