Only weeks after the council backed away from supporting a community-led bid to re-open the mothballed Leith Waterworld, locals will be pleased to hear that the council have opted to give Leith Theatre Trust a chance at rejuvinating Leith Theatre after the charity was awarded a five year lease.
The Theatre was originally built as a “gift to the people of Leith” from the City of Edinburgh after the two town councils were merged. In its heyday it hosted numerous famous acts, including Kraftwerk, AC/DC and Slade, but it closed in 1988 and has been allowed by the council to fall into disuse and disrepair.
Commenting on the council decision, John Paul McGroarty, Artistic Director at the Leith Theatre Trust (LTT) said: “The Council meeting was a success and Leith Theatre Trust have now been granted a License and Lease to take over Leith Theatre. It belongs to the people of Leith and we will look after it for you and bring you Theatre from all over the World. A great day for Leith.”
As part of the five year deal the LTT will pay the council an annual rent of £27,500 per year – equivalent to the revenue raised by the Thomas Morton Hall in 2012. The council will continue to pay for utilities costs – which significantly outstrip the revenue raised. Essentially therefore, the trust has been given a peppercorn rent for the next five years. It is hoped that this will give the chance – and a platform – to access far larger grant funding to restore the Theatre. If successful, the council has also agreed in principle to the LTT taking a further 30 year lease.
You can find out more about the Leith Theatre Trust on their website.
If you want to help the Trust get off to a flying start you could get yourself along to their Leith Festival fundraiser gig.