Published On: Thu, Mar 24th, 2011 at 2:05pm

Time to Save the Stockbridge Theatre – Saturday 26th March 2011

The City of Edinburgh Council, which owns The Stockbridge Theatre has recently advised that it is about to be put on the market for sale. Campaigners want to keep it open and are staging a demonstration outside the theatre this Saturday.

‘It is surplus to requirements, and will be put on the market in the next couple of weeks. There is interest from developers and I am currently talking with Planning,’ said the Estate Surveyor, Corporate Property and Contingency Planning, at the City’s offices.

A cultural alliance Campaign group has been set up to oppose this and to try to save the building from being sold off. They say that their earnest wish is to build a new, sustainable culturally vibrant future for this much-needed cultural and artistic space on the north side of the city. And they promise that the future will continue to nurture new talent, create jobs and be an integral and responsive local, regional and national venue.

The campaign is headed up by Dolina MacLennan, a Stockbridge resident, who is herself one of Scotland’s National treasures, as a founder member of the iconic 7:84 company, and she explains:-

‘This is an artistic asset about to be lost after almost fifty years of cultural and community life. It is more important now, than ever that we retain this building as a valuable arts resource in Edinburgh. There are few venues offering 150-seat capacity, in the city, ideal for smaller productions, and as a cross-cultural arts venue for the local community and the whole city. It is critical that it is reactivated as a cultural space.’

The 150-seat theatre, is set within a B listed Georgian building spread across 4 floors. It includes a walled garden and studio space with capacity for a further 55 seats, all set within the vibrant artistic area of Stockbridge. It is a fully accessible space.

Since the early 1960s the theatre building and arts venue in Hamilton Place Stockbridge, Edinburgh (the former Theatre Workshop building) has been an integral part of the capital and local community’s cultural and artistic heritage, as well as playing host to many international and European Festival fringe productions, for almost five decades.

Famous Scottish artistic directors like Andy Arnold, Adrian Harris, Bob Palmer, and Gerry Mulgrew have all passed through its doors as inspirational directors and as part of this legacy.

Catherine Lockerbie, former Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and cultural ambassador for the city, said:-

‘These smaller vibrant venues are vital to communities and emerging talent. If the building is sold off to developers, all of that is lost. There is such a need for smaller intimate theatre and artistic spaces in Edinburgh, there are so few. This theatre has been here for almost 50 years and has a vital role to play for the future. I am a founder member of Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature and there is so much potential for literary events as well as theatre, visual arts, and so much more, in one of the capitals most vibrant districts. I fully support this campaign to save the building’.

The campaign is building momentum, with a Facebook page set up and leaflets, petitions and posters being distributed around the local community and the wide and diverse artistic sectors in Scotland and beyond.

You can sign up to the Facebook page ‘Save Stockbridge Theatre Building’ to show your support and also keep up date with its progress.

Alternatively you can register your name and contact details on the petitions which will be distributed at key locations throughout Stockbridge.

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  1. Wayne says:

    Stockbridge is a wonderfully vibrant community, and the Theatre is part of its cultural core (as well as providing an asset suitable for other activities). As such it should – must – be saved. This is a time for communities to unite and strengthen, not be dismembered as core assets are sold off. It’s unfortunate the council feels they can no longer support the Theatre. While I am in support of the Trams initiative, better management of that project may have saved tens of millions of pounds of money that could have been used for matters such as this. Let’s hope matters are resolved positively and the Theatre can continue in this locations.

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