April 6, 2017
Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and director Danny Boyle have added their support to our efforts to bring the old Leith Theatre back to life, as we extend our fundraising target following an overwhelming response from the public.
Our Kickstarter campaign had an initial target of £10,000, representing the bare minimum needed to ensure the theatre is ready to open the doors for its first audience in nearly three decades. After an overwhelming response from supporters keen to see the venue resurrected, we have increased the target to enable the festival to show the theatre off in the style it truly deserves.
Hidden Door is a volunteer-run, non-profit arts organisation specialising in transforming forgotten and abandoned spaces. Past festivals have taken place in the empty arches on Market Street and a secret courtyard tucked away behind Kings Stables Road. It aims to demonstrate how empty urban spaces can be transformed while also providing a platform to support the local arts community.
The old Leith theatre, which first opened in 1932 and played host to the likes of AC/DC, Kraftwerk and the Edinburgh International Festival in its heyday, has stood empty and derelict since 1988.
The crowd-funding campaign has been launched in the run-up to Hidden Door’s annual 10-day multi-arts festival, which this year will be staged at the Leith Theatre to provide the initial spark to regenerate the derelict venue. The campaign is contributing to the work of the Leith Theatre Trust, the organisation that is facilitating the refurbishment and reopening of the theatre.
Director Danny Boyle, who has signed up as an ambassador of Leith Theatre said:
“Leith has been an important place in my career as a film maker. The main theatre hasn’t been in use through the years I have known the area but the reminiscences and the affection which clearly exist for it give it a magic which I hope will generate the support the Trust needs to get it back on its feet. Leith needs a space to be sociable and creative and to gather the community. Please lend a hand and give your support to this effort and vision to bring the theatre back to life.”
The Kickstarter campaign offers supporters various levels of pledges, ranging from £5 to £300 or more. In return for pledges, there are numerous rewards such as a personalised plaque on a chair in the theatre for the Festival; tickets to the festival; tours of the theatre and Festival; limited edition artworks and the opportunity to become a Friend or Patron of Hidden Door.
Irvine Welsh, Leith-born author and patron of the Leith Theatre Trust, said:
“It’s terrific to see a pop-up counter culture event like Hidden Door collaborating with Leith Theatre to open up the whole of the building, not just the main auditorium but also all the corridors and dressing rooms, bars and secret nooks that make it such a charming and exciting place. Hidden Door gives audiences the chance to glimpse what the future of the theatre could be and show others how versatile and interesting it can be in the meantime through its programme and use of space. I’m excited to see a like-minded organisation coming together with us and bringing Leith Theatre new life.”
David Martin, Creative Director of Hidden Door, said:
“By launching this crowd-funding campaign, we want to help bring the grand old Leith Theatre back to life and transform it into the incredible venue it should be for the community in Leith and Edinburgh.
“Leith Theatre has a glorious past and by contributing to the crowd-funding campaign people can help build a new future for this spectacular theatre.”
Jack Hunter, Chair of Leith Theatre Trust said:
“This is a terrific opportunity for those who enjoy Hidden Door Festival and are interested in Leith Theatre’s restoration to support both organisations in creating a wonderful space for the Festival in May and a continuing improvement in the building.”
Contribute to Hidden Door’s crowdfunding campaign to bring Leith Theatre back to life.
Photos of Danny and Irvine by Eoin Carey.