Landmark church destined to become top dance centre

St. Stephen's Church on St. Stephen's Street, Picture; Malcolm McCurrach
St. Stephen's Church on St. Stephen's Street, Picture; Malcolm McCurrach
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A LANDMARK city church is set to become Scotland’s answer to Sadler’s Wells, according to the Danish ballet legend who has bought the building.

Peter Schaufuss, a previous director English National Ballet, said he wanted to turn the former St Stephen’s Church in Stockbridge into a dance centre on a par with the London theatre which is the UK’s top venue for international dance.

It was announced in April that Mr Schaufuss had acquired St Stephen’s from gaming tycoon Leslie Benzies.

Mr Schaufuss has also bought Charlotte Baptist Church in Rose Street and plans to relaunch it as a performance venue Rose Theatre this summer after a £1.8 million revamp.

He said: “I want St Stephen’s to be a dance centre for Scotland. There is Dance Base in the city, but there is no Sadler’s Wells, but I really see it working like that.

“Because it has so much space, and it can be a theatre in the round which means it would be attractive to many dance companies.

“Edinburgh has a lot of theatres, but it does not have a theatre in the round.

“So, that’s how I see it. But we will not be opening it this year, we will do it next year. I don’t want to do it half cooked, I want to open this dance house properly.”

He said he would “never say never” about more acquisitions in the city.