Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre is one of Scotland’s great auditoria. There has been a theatre on the present site since 1830 and – in its current and former guise as the Empire – it has hosted luminaries such as Harry Lauder, Charles Laughton, Laurel and Hardy and Margot Fonteyn.
But whether it is musicals, variety, ballet, opera or film, the Festival Theatre could rarely have roared like last night, when more than 1000 Evening News readers, family and friends packed inside for the final of Edinburgh’s Got Talent.
When the event was launched four years ago, the paper was excited about it, but we didn’t know how it was going to take off.
It has grown into something huge because our readers have embraced it. They have entered in their hundreds: dancers, singers, cabaret acts. And they have voted in their thousands, taking the time to tear out a coupon and post it in to the Talent team. Indeed, the newspaper receives more responses to Edinburgh’s Got Talent than any other competition we run.
All ten of the contestants were on stage last night purely because readers bought the paper and voted for them. That must be a great feeling. So, no matter the final result, all ten were winners.
And, as always, the standard of entries was jaw-dropping. Teenagers who had only ever sung in their bedroom before, were given a standing ovation. Edinburgh and the Lothians really does have undiscovered talent. Remember Blackburn’s finest, Susan Boyle?
Last year’s winner, Tranent schoolgirl Caitlyn Vanbeck, has had an incredible year on the back of her EGT success. She went on to deliver a stunning performance at the Radio Forth awards and even sang for competitors before the Edinburgh Rock n Roll Marathon.
The night was the conclusion of months of effort from many people and the beginning of a journey for others. Whether someone becomes a star, or just has the night of their lives, Edinburgh’s Got Talent brings people and families together in a celebration of song and dance. And in this recession-hit era, we could all do with a celebration.