The Festival City Theatres Trust has announced a number of high profile Cultural Ambassadors for the capital campaign to transform the King’s Theatre Edinburgh and, by extension, invigorate the Tollcross environs.
John Byrne, Andy Gray, Bill Paterson, Ian Rankin, Elaine C Smith, Allan Stewart and Grant Stott have pledged their support to the £25million capital campaign to regenerate the King’s and by extension the Tollcross area of the city centre. Opened in 1906 The King’s Theatre is one of Scotland’s oldest and most loved theatres. Now 110 years old it is in dire need of major redevelopment to bring it up to twenty first century standards and to meet the needs of modern audiences.
The Festival City Theatres Trust, the charitable organisation that runs the Festival and King’s Theatres, plans to transform the historic building to modernise and preserve it for generations to come. The charm and heritage of the Edwardian auditorium will be retained and its front of house and backstage facilities will be modernised to create a vibrant theatre which attracts the best performing companies.
In their support for the King’s Theatre, fellow ambassador, painter and playwright John Byrne says: ‘I will endeavour to do a good job as I love the King’s and have done down the many years we have gone to see a great many of the wonderful productions there.’
Actor, comedian and panto star Andy Gray added: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be a Cultural Ambassador for the King’s redevelopment. It’s my favourite theatre in the world, and I have the most wonderful time every time I walk through its hallowed doors.’
Ian Rankin, who describes himself as an ‘author and theatre-goer’, enthused with: ‘I always enjoy my visits to the King’s Theatre. It’s a grand space where magic happens for all age groups. But like other buildings of its vintage, it would benefit from a bit of TLC, bringing it up to scratch for the twenty-first century. This is our chance to shape the King’s for future generations. It’s too good an opportunity to miss and I hope fans of the theatre from Edinburgh and beyond will join in.’
And actor, comedian and first lady of Scottish pantomime Elaine C Smith: ‘‘It’s an honour for me to support the campaign to bring the King’s into the 21st century and to help make it the theatre everyone wants and needs it to be.’
All-round entertainer and panto star Allan Stewart says: ‘It is wonderful news that the King’s will soon be restored to its former glory. My dressing room there feels like my second home as I have been ‘living’ there since the early seventies. I have so many wonderful memories. Let’s all get behind fundraising money for this project.’
Broadcaster, actor and panto star Grant Stott wrapped things up with his inimitable enthusiasm: “Every role I’ve played at The King’s has been special, for so many reasons, but to have been invited to be a Cultural Ambassador for the King’s Capital Campaign is something that I am so very proud of. I care so much about this building and to play any part in helping to get her back shining once again is nothing but a complete honour.”
The campaign to transform the King’s Theatre is supported by a Campaign Board made up of prominent figures from the Scottish business community. The Board members so far appointed are: Guy Cameron, Chief Investment Officer of Cameron Hume; Simon Mackintosh, Chairman of Turcan Connell; Andrew Milligan OBE, Head of Global Strategy of Standard Life Aberdeen; Dame Joan Stringer FRSE, former Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University; and Karyn Watt, Head of Infrastructure and a partner at Anderson Strathearn.
Images courtesy of King’s Theatre.