Today Greener Leith attended an open day at Leith Theatre that aimed to raise awareness of the potential of the building, and as you can see, it really is an amazing space. It is sad to see the building damp and unusable at the moment, but it was really interesting to hear about some of the ambitious ideas that are being floated for the redevelopment of the building. Indeed, in years to come it could turn out to be one of the largest arts complexes in Scotland. Did you know that the only two venues in Edinburgh that are bigger are the Playhouse and the Festival Theatre? And yet it’s sitting empty.
One of the key problems with the building is that no-one knows it’s there! To address this, one of the ideas being proposed could see the public space on the corner of Ferry Rd and Great Junction Street improved to form a better pedestrianised square that would lead people into a new entrance at the North end of the theatre. This would be a fantastic improvement to the whole of Great Junction Street, giving focus to an otherwise bland junction.
Another exciting idea could see the space between the Theatre and Leith Library glassed over. This would join the two buildings and provide extra space for a modern box office and entrance and allow the library and the theatre to share facilities. If nothing else, this idea could finally mean that library users have access to a toilet!
So far, we hear that more than 250 people or organisations have responded to the on-line consultation that seeks to inform a business model and final design for the regeneration of the building. It’s early days yet, and who knows whether the Leith Theatre Trust will be able to raise the cash to do it? However, Greener Leith certainly wishes them luck, and will follow the development plans with interest.