Irvine Welsh: ‘Leith is yang to stuffy Edinburgh’s yin’

Scottish writer Irvine Welsh. (Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)

Scottish writer Irvine Welsh. (Photo by Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)

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Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has described the Leith district as the “yang to stuffy, bourgeois Edinburgh’s yin.”

The outspoken novelist, who is backing a campaign to revive Leith Theatre on Ferry Road, said the area could soon be transformed into the “culture centre” of Edinburgh.

The 56-year-old, who was born in Leith, said reopening the neglected arts venue, would create a “buzz” for the port area and an important part of Edinburgh Festival.

He said: “I think Leith was perceived as a no go for tourists. If the theatre was in Morningside or Stockbridge, there wouldn’t be that barrier to extending the festival party out to those districts.

“But with the gentrification of parts of Leith, the projected tramline and the loss of city centre venues, you sense that Leith Theatre now has the opportunity to come of age.

Welsh said reopening the theatre could prove the “catalyst in developing Leith as the cool, anything goes urban district every truly international city needs.”

He added: “Not just in a bland student hipster way, but as a cultural and counter-cultural centre.

“It’s always been the yang to stuffy, bourgeois Edinburgh’s yin.”