New life for Leith Theatre

Novelist Irvine Welsh is leading a campaign to reopen Edinburgh’s Leith Theatre. The theatre, which was once a venue for the Edinburgh International Festival, has been closed since 1988.

Welsh was born in Leith and his most famous novel Trainspotting is set in the north Edinburgh district. He has now become a patron of the Leith Theatre Trust (LTT), which hopes to raise GBP250,000 (€293,000) to clean-up the venue.

Leith Theatre was originally opened in 1932, and was closed from 1941 until 1961 due to bomb damage. It was a major music venue during the 60s and 70s, before falling into disrepair in the 80s. In May the venue will host the Hidden Door Festival, which uses disused and run-down spaces for performing arts and cinema screenings.

‘I used to play outside the Leith Theatre as a kid and always remember it as an impressive but dormant force,’ said Welsh in an interview with Edinburgh Evening News. ‘It is, and will remain, a hub for the local community.’

After the clean-up is complete LTT hopes to raise money for a GBP13m refurbishment of the building so that it can be used as a permanent arts hub for the area.