Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre opened for the first time on 8 December 1906 with a performance of Cinderella, and today members of the staff gathered (safely!/at a distance) to celebrate its 114th Anniversary in the empty auditorium and to carry wonderful memories and hope into the theatre’s 115th year.
2020 has been a hard year for all theatres around the country and the King’s has been no different having shut its doors in March. But as 2021 comes into view the staff continue to work on plans for reopening both the King’s and Festival theatres next spring and there is a renewed sense of optimism as they nurture its continuing light.
On this day annually the auditorium would be packed with families enjoying the pantomime, and the staff would be having just as much fun welcoming them and preparing to lift the curtain once the final technical and wardrobe adjustments had been made. Today each member of staff, some who have worked every Christmas pantomime season for the last 25 years, shared their panto memories.
A Crowdfunder this summer saw a huge outpouring of support for Capital Theatres’ Festival Theatre and King’s Theatre. There is still a long way to go to ensure that the King’s is saved for the long-term but the team will put everything into ensuring the lights remain on for years to come.
Linda Hogg, Head of Front of House and Customer Services for Capital Theatres. Worked at Capital Theatres for 26 years including 25 panto seasons. Favourite Memory: “My favourite moment every year is the pantette. We do 82 panto shows each year, and every year one of the staff writes a pantette, which is a spoof panto. After the show one night we’ll have a drink in the bar and head down to the auditorium for the pantette, and it feels like a community. And that for me and most of the staff is their favourite night. Everyone is celebrating together. That is my favourite memory”.
Jimmy Beacham, Head of Ticketing and Revenue Worked at Capital Theatres for 25 years including 25 panto seasons. Favourite Memory: “This time of the year, there is such a buzz at box office and putting the shows in and I just love seeing the families coming in. And a lot of the children and adults are so exciting. I’ve been doing it such a long time, I really desperately miss it”.
Sulie Wood, Technician. Has worked 6 panto seasons. Favourite Memory: “It’s great fun. Excellent camaraderie on stage. We all miss it because of the family feel you get when you are working panto”.
Jim Cursiter, Technician. “This year was meant to be my 40th panto. I’m the flyman. It’s a very busy season. I love the festival too. Working with companies from all over the world. I’ve worked at the King’s since 1981”.
Graham Simpson, Front Of House Usher. The Festival is my favourite time of year with people coming from all around the world. It is the people for me that make the theatre, and hearing their stories and their excitement about what is coming.