Edinburgh theatre to close and go on open market with £3m price tag
The Rose Theatre, one of the biggest performing arts venues in Edinburgh’s New Town, has been put onto the open market with a £3 million price tag by Peter Schaufuss.
He admitted it had become “too much” to run it along with Saint Stephen's, in Stockbridge, where McKellen appeared in a theatre-dance production of Hamlet appeared last summer.
The Rose Theatre, at the west end of Rose Street, is expected to close within weeks after being put up for sale by Mr Schaufuss.
He spent more than £1m transforming the former church into a five-storey performing arts venue, which was run for several years by Fringe promoters Gilded Balloon.
Selling agents Rettie said the sale of the property, which dates back to 1912, was “a unique opportunity to obtain one of the most significant buildings along Edinburgh’s world-famous Rose Street”.
One of the biggest Fringe venues in the New Town, it was taken over by theatre company Captivate for last year's festival and is being used by the Edinburgh-based MGA Academy of Performing Arts.
The Rose Theatre is the second major cultural venue in Edinburgh to go on the open market within months after the operators of the Filmhouse went into administration. Mystery surrounds the preferred bidder for the cinema building and their plans.
The Rose Theatre includes a basement theatre and bar, a ground-floor foyer, box office and cafe, a first-floor cabaret bar, a main theatre, and rehearsal spaces and dressing rooms.
Mr Schaufuss originally intended to buy the former St Stephen's Church in Stockbridge after a tour of the building in 2014 when it was on the market, but lost out to Leslie Benzies, the Edinburgh-based computer games developer. He had already bought the Rose Theatre when Mr Benzies approached him over a possible purchase of the Stockbridge building, which he began renovating after the Covid shutdown forced the closure of the Rose Theatre in 2020.
Mr Schaufuss said: “I've already done so much to Saint Stephen’s, but it is far from finished and that has been my frustration. I just cannot possibly run two venues. I’ve decided to concentrate on Saint Stephen’s.
"From the very first time I saw it, my ambition was to turn it into a world-class venue, which it was last summer and which it will be in future.
"It was a very difficult decision to sell the Rose Theatre. It wasn’t just about the money that I’ve spent on it, I have also spent so much of my time working on the venue.
“I would love it if another creative person or company could buy the Rose Theatre and take it forward now.
"I don’t want to be a landlord, but I became one by default by having two buildings. I want to be creative. Saint Stephen’s is where I’m at and where I can be creative again. In five years, the only production I’ve been able to do was Hamlet. Having a venue like Saint Stephen’s will be an ongoing project. It will never be finished."