Ladyboys forced out of new venue by asbestos

The Ladyboys of Bangkok. Picture: Jane Barlow
The Ladyboys of Bangkok. Picture: Jane Barlow
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ONE of the Fringe’s best-selling and longest-running shows has been forced to find a new home yet again – this time following the discovery of asbestos.

The Ladyboys of Bangkok thought they had secured a new home at the Fountainbridge Brewery site after learning they would be ousted from their prime location on the Meadows after 17 years.

But now the portion of the site where they had been due to perform has been sealed off as a safety precaution – though officials have stressed risk to the public remains “low”.

Instead an area just 50 yards away from the original Fountainbridge site has been put forward as the latest venue for the hit show following council negotiations with the private business that owns the adjoining land.

A city council spokeswoman said: “The council has taken immediate measures to close off the area to the public. These will remain in place.

“Initial indications suggest there is asbestos on the site but that the risk of harm is low.

“While we await detailed analysis from independent consultants we are taking additional precautions in order to maintain the safety of the site. We are also working with users to make arrangements for temporary relocation.

“We continue to work with event organisers to secure a suitable alternative site, and further details will be announced in due course.”

Until the latest deal has been finalised, the council has declined to reveal any details of the business that has come to the Ladyboys’ rescue.

But had a settlement not been reached, it was rumoured that council chiefs were working behind-the-scenes to move the Ladyboys to yet another venue on land close to 
Meadowbank Stadium.

Ladyboys founder and promoter Phillip Gandey said: “As far as we are concerned it’s the same site. It’s just the other side of the fence. It’s just 50 yards to one side. It’s a different piece of the same ground.

“I don’t know the name of the company that has offered to help but we are very grateful to them.”

He added: “We have already sold about 5000 tickets which is on a par with ticket sales from the Meadows [last year].”

The Ladyboys lost the Meadows site to promoter Underbelly in a bidding process designed to give a cash boost for the city’s parks.

Terms were then agreed with the city council for the Ladyboys to perform at the Fountainbridge Brewery site, two acres of council-owned derelict land previously used by NoFit State Circus.

It is understood asbestos was found following a recent independent survey employed by the council to assess the site ahead of the Fringe.

The original Fountainbridge site had been offered to the Ladyboys at a “comparable” rate to the Meadows. Speaking at the time, Mr Gandey said their site was “in some ways a better location” than the Meadows.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com