Leith Theatre makes long-awaited return as Festival venue

King Creosote (pictured) at the International Festival as part of Light on the Shore at Leith Theatre. Supported by Iain Morrison and Hamish Hawk. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
King Creosote (pictured) at the International Festival as part of Light on the Shore at Leith Theatre. Supported by Iain Morrison and Hamish Hawk. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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An unmistakable local vibe pulsed through the launch show as a lively audience welcomed back the forgotten Festival venue of Leith Theatre after a three-decade absence from the iconic brochure.

The EIF has joined forces with bands and artists to shine a light on Scotland’s musical impact for the Light on the Shore with Edinburgh Gin Seaside programme at the theatre.

And last night, Edinburgh’s Hamish Hawk kicked off the series of 16 events followed by Isle of Lewis singer and songwriter Iain Morrison.

King Creosote brought wistful warmth to the stage as the headline act, three years after he performed his soundtrack to the film, From Scotland With Love at the EIF in 2015.

His set of folk-rock dipped into his back catalogue of hits as well as showcasing material from his upcoming album.

Olaf Jabs from Leith said he is not only delighted to see King Creosote perform but also to see Leith Theatre feature in the Festival.

He added: “I am a big fan of King Creosote and like a mix of his old and new music.”

Bo Ekmin travelled all the way from Denmark just for the launch. “You don’t hear Scottish music in Denmark so much and when we’ve been in Edinburgh before we really loved Iain Morrison and also King Creosote. And they’re on the same bill so we could come to Edinburgh one day and see both – what could be more perfect?”

The theatre’s 1300-capacity and acoustics have already fostered hopes that Leith could permanently become home to a live music venue as significant as Glasgow Barrowland.

A spokeswoman for the Leith Theatre Trust said: “It is particularly appropriate for this focus on our musical community to happen at Leith Theatre where we are working towards bringing the building back into permanent life to service the city’s need for an excellent music venue and to provide the strong community of Leith with a cultural hub.”

The 86-year-old venue re-opened temporarily for the fifth Hidden Door festival in May and June.

Closed since 1988 after falling into disrepair, its use for the EIF is expected to generate significant interest and support for ambitions to carry out a multi-million pound refurbishment to make it suitable for year-round events in the future.

Culture and Communities Convener Cllr Donald Wilson, said: “The revival of Leith Theatre is one of the most exciting developments this summer and its refurbishment is going to be the most significant addition to Leith’s live music scene for decades.

“The council is directing £1m towards the project so that it can, hopefully, receive match funding and come back into full use. It was originally an asset of the people of Leith. A place where people could come together and celebrate and be creative. I want to see the doors back open for good.”