‘Our theatres deserve a happy ending’

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the deepening financial crisis at the King’s and Festival theatres will cause alarm across the Capital.

Everyone who grew up in the city holds the King’s in great affection. Many stepped inside a theatre for the first time to see the panto at “the People’s Theatre” – and went back years later with their children to continue the tradition.

All will be extremely sad at its current plight, and wonder quite how the theatre – along with its respected sister venue in Nicolson Street – managed to fall into such a deep financial pit.

No matter how loved, the venues cannot continue indefinitely as a growing drain on the public purse. But surely we can find a way of avoiding such a bleak future.

For a city of its size, Edinburgh does support a lot of theatres, some would say too many outside of festival time.

But the Playhouse has shown over many years that there is a healthy audience for the right kind of mainstream shows.

And a sell-out visit by the National Theatre of Scotland proves there is room for the King’s to do popular theatre too.

Trouble-shooter Pat Weller appears to be steadying the ship at the Festival City Theatres Trust, which runs the two stricken venues on behalf of the city.

Serious questions still need to be asked about its long-term management.

Would Edinburgh and the King’s be better served by drafting in a private management company which would be more commercially minded?

It is perfectly clear that they cannot continue in the way they have in recent years.

The time is right to take a long hard look at exactly how they got into their current financial mess – and to work out what dramatic changes behind the scenes will direct them to a brighter future.

A sign of the times

we have not always been famous in Edinburgh for offering visitors the warmest of welcomes.

So, what better way to challenge the tired old stereotype and show the world that we really are friendly, than to paint an enormous welcome sign that passengers can read as they fly into the airport.

We must be grateful though that the idea has come from the citizens of Portobello – and not the good people of Morningside.

Otherwise passengers might find themselves staring down at the legend “You’ll have had your tea” in giant letters on the city rooftops.