Festival and King's Theatre Emergency Support Fund

by Capital Theatres in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 6th October 2020 we successfully raised £89,938 ( + est. £18397.25 Gift Aid ) with 1732 supporters in 28 days

Support Capital Theatres today to help ensure our theatres can safely re-open for people to enjoy live performance again in Spring 2021!

by Capital Theatres in Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

'Hanging By A Million Threads' by Sophie Fields

Thank-you to our Crowdfunder Supporters. Dec 22 2020 

Edinburgh based emerging artist Sophie Fields has unveiled today a new art installation very aptly titled 'Hanging by a million threads' as a statement of thanks to all who have supported us over the past few months ❤

Click here to see images of the installation

Simulating the theatre's curtains, each banner features many of the beautiful messages, thoughts and memories from the hundreds shared by the public during our crowdfunder campaign to #SaveOurTheatres. Other messages will be displayed on the digital screens on the ground floor, so people walking past can read the messages clearly.

You can enjoy the art installation until the end of January at the Festival Theatre. Remember we have a lot to be thankful for, and we are looking forward to welcoming you #AfterTheInterval

If you have donated for one of our exciting experiential rewards in our venues, or for interval ice-creams or drinks, we will be in touch in the New Year to update you on when our venues might re-open to enable you to enjoy these fantastic rewards!

We want to prevent the closure of our theatres, and to continue bringing the arts to the wider community through our engagement work.

Capital Theatres is asking for donations to help ensure our three city centre theatres in Edinburgh (Festival Theatre, King's Theatre, and The Studio) can re-open when it is safe to do so, and to ensure continued access to the arts for our most vulnerable communities during COVID-19. Please make a donation or pledge for one of exciting rewards.


Why are we crowdfunding?

Almost 90% of Capital Theatres' income is generated from ticket sales. The sudden closure of our theatres in March meant an immediate loss of our main source of income. So far we have refunded 57,700 tickets with a value of over £2.6 million. The recent decision to postpone this year's King's Pantomime and the annual Christmas ballet until 2021 will result in a further £3.4 million loss of income. Currently 92% of our staff are furloughed to save costs, with the remainder skeleton staff working from home.

As a charitable organisation, we strive to make the arts accessible for all through our extensive Learning and Participating programme, and to provide our local community with health and wellbeing benefits. During this difficult time, we have continued to engage with the wider community online. Our extensive new digital engagement programme 'Raise the Curtain' offers wide-ranging opportunities for people to engage with the arts safely from home, from dementia friendly online music concerts, storytelling projects with Special Needs Schools and performance workshops with care experienced young adults. During June and July alone, we engaged with over 600 people each week through our digital activities. 


We are campaigning to receive emergency Government funding at the same level as other publicly supported theatres, which would allow us to continue to play our part in Edinburgh's year-round thriving arts scene and support the local and national economy. 

We are currently planning to have performances back on our stages by Spring 2021, but social distancing measures currently in place would mean our theatres could only open at around 20% capacity which isn't financially viable. Without significant external help, we will struggle to survive this prolonged period of closure with no ticket income.  We need funding to continue delivering our work behind closed doors and to prepare the theatres to reopen when we are able to safely do so.

In April we set up an emergency fundraising appeal, and have already raised an amazing £85,000 from the Capital Theatres' family of supporters and Friends. We need to raise an additional £35,000 in vital funds to help sustain our operational costs over the winter months and continue to support our most vulnerable audiences through 'Raise The Curtain'.


With your help we can...

  • Prepare our theatres to re-open with the appropriate social distancing and safety measures in place
  • Continue to programme and market exciting performances for you to look forward to in 2021
  • Raise even more money to ensure the future of our theatres
  • Ensure our staff remain connected to our customers online and on the phone
  • Deliver 'Raise The Curtain' at home to our most vulnerable audiences most at risk of social isolation during COVID-19 

We have created some exciting rewards to encourage further support to help us achieve our target, and plan to recognise all supporters of our emergency fund since March either on our website or in our venues at the end of our campaign.


Why it’s important to save theatres

Professor Alexander McCall Smith, King’s Ambassador and Author

“The King’s Theatre is part of the soul of Edinburgh. All of us who live in and love this city cherish a deep affection for this wonderful institution. It needs our support now - and I am sure that there will be many who will give that support with readiness and love.”

Grant Stott, Panto Baddie!

"The Kings Theatre has seen World Wars, tram systems, Goldbergs and Mr Boni’s all come and go.  We have to do what we can to make sure she's still here to see what this brilliant City of Edinburgh does next."


Family with lived experience of dementia

"You've really helped us get through the most terrible time. We can't thank you enough for all your energy and effort for us."


Bethany Kingsley-Garner, Principal Dancer, Scottish Ballet

“Edinburgh Festival Theatre is where the magic happens, my second home. To experience live theatre is to be transported to another place, where audience and performers become one. Sharing emotions with the audience creates magical moments for me, as a dancer on stage.”


Ian Rankin, Scottish author and King's Ambassador

Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director, Scottish Ballet

“Edinburgh is one of the cultural capitals of the world and, to me, these theatres are the beating heart of it. The atmosphere and connection between our dancers and the audiences at the Festival Theatre is magical. I have some very special memories from being a dancer, to choreographer and now leading Scottish Ballet and I look forward to making more in years to come.”


Edinburgh Gang Show

"All Gang members, past or present, young or young-in-heart, hold special memories of their involvement with the Edinburgh Gang Show at the King's. There's a popular song often included in our Finale called 'Making Memories' - we hope to be back to make more memories for many years to come at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh."


Ken Hay, CEO of Filmhouse and EIFF 

"Edinburgh is defined by its festivals and year round cultural offering – for local, national and international audiences.  Both the Festival and King’s Theatres are integral to that, with the Festival Theatre being a core partner of Edinburgh International Film Festival, hosting our major gala screenings each year. "

Fergus Linehan, Director, Edinburgh International Festival 

"Since its founding years, the Kings Theatre has been at the centre of the Edinburgh International Festival's work.  Each August it has been home to the world's greatest orchestras, singers, actors, and dancers.  Its fine acoustic and excellent stage/audience relationship has made it a true favourite with Festival artists and audiences.  As the demands of staging changed, Edinburgh responded with the development of the Festival Theatre. The Festival Theatre ensured that the Festival and Edinburgh's reputation as the world's Festival city were secured for future generations.  While allowing the Festival to properly reflect the ambition of the world's major opera and dance companies, it also freed the Kings up to become a Festival centre for drama and mid-scale opera and dance.  In addition to the buildings, the personnel at both venues have crucial skills and experience of working at the highest possible level.  It would be simply impossible to stage a Festival of international stature without the Kings Theatre and Festival Theatre." 

Andy Gray, Scottish actor and Panto star

Edinburgh Leisure, Corporate Partners

"So many industries have suffered as a result of COVID-19 but none more so that the theatre industry and the creative arts. As one of our corporate partners, Capital Theatres and the other theatre venues across the city play such an important part with all the activity that takes place within them, to the economy, for people’s mental health and the city’s thriving arts scene, and of course to theatregoers and our local communities."

About Capital Theatres


As Scotland's largest theatre charity, our vision is to inspire a life-long love of theatre. We employ 230 staff, and welcome over 500,000 people each year to our three city centre theatre venues, to enjoy our fantastic programme of performances from musicals, drama, dance, ballet, opera, comedy, live music, screenings and children's shows. In addition, our accessible performances are vital for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to enjoy the shows on our stages. 

The King's Theatre in Tollcross is at the heart of Edinburgh's cultural community, delighting local audiences each year with the annual King's Pantomime, The Gang Show and performances by many of Edinburgh's local amateur dramatic companies. 

The Festival Theatre is home to our National Performing Companies, including Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera, and our venues are integral to Edinburgh's Festivals, including The Edinburgh International Festival, The Jazz and Blues Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival.


Our charitable work delivers an exciting, year-round programme of engagement for those inherently less likely to engage with, and access, quality arts experiences including older communities; those in care home environments; children at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children; BAME communities around the Festival Theatre; children and young people with multiple and complex needs; people living with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases; communities in areas of multiple deprivation; deaf and blind communities and individuals; and care experienced children and young people; all at a disadvantage in accessing quality Arts experiences.

Our venues provide working space for Edinburgh Performing Arts Development (EPAD), which supports independent performing arts companies and artists based in Edinburgh, and also exhibition and learning spaces for local colleges and universities.

As a registered charity we are 100% not for profit, with any surplus annual income re-invested year on year into the upkeep of our venues.  


About Save Our Theatres

In villages, towns and cities across the country, theatres are at the heart of their community. Places to come together, to be inspired and be entertained. Theatres are where our best-loved actors learn their craft and thousands of others learn valuable skills. 

But we risk losing this forever.

Without urgent support, we could lose our nation’s amazing theatres. Please help us to make sure our theatres survive this crisis and will be there to be enjoyed by future generations.


Please donate, share this page widely and do what you can to help us to make sure our theatre survive this crisis. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£40 or more

2 of 5 claimed

£40 Birmingham Royal Ballet Fireside Chat

Enjoy a cup of tea over Zoom with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s wonderful First Soloist Jonathan Payn. Joining in 1993, Jonathan has a wealth of experience as a dancer that very few others can match, from romantic leads to character roles like his legendary Drosselmeyer. BRB is the UK’s premiere touring ballet company so if you ever wanted to get the inside look at the life of a ballet dancer, now is your chance.

£5 or more

Prize Draw! Donations between £5.00 - £25.00

Make a donation from just £5 upwards and be entered into a Prize Draw • 3 lucky winners will each receive a high value reward (£75+) • See list below for details of the exciting prize you could be in a chance of winning • Prize winners will be selected at random and informed of their prize at the end of the Campaign - no later than 8 Oct 2020 • If you wish to donate more than £5 just add an additional donation at the checkout. Thank you!

£5 or more

£5 Exclusive Scottish Ballet Prize Draw!

Make a donation from just £5 upwards and be entered into a Prize Draw for our exclusive Scottish Ballet Prize • The lucky winner will receive a pair of signed pointe shoes from Principal dancer, Bethany Kingsley-Garner • Our friends at Scottish Ballet will also provide a year’s free Friends membership of Scottish Ballet and a Scottish Ballet tartan scarf• Prize winners will be selected at random and informed of their prize at the end of the Campa

£10 or more

35 of 40 claimed

£10 Interval Ice-creams for You and a Friend

Show you support for our theatres by making a donation and look forward to enjoying ice-creams at the Festival and King's Theatre once again when we re-open. Take part in the great theatre tradition of an interval ice-cream as you catch up about the show so far. You and your friend can choose any ice-cream to enjoy on your next visit to our theatres using an ice-cream voucher.

£10 or more

Prize draw - £10 for a chance to be in panto 2021!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to have a walk on part in Scotland's biggest and best panto! Take to the stage with Allan, Andy, Grant and Jordan for one performance of Sleeping Beauty in 2021/22 and experience the buzz of a panto audience as a cast member. Dreams will come true with this prize - oh yes they will! • Winner selected at random and informed of their prize no later than 8 Oct.

£15 or more

96 of 100 claimed

£15 Signed 2021 King's Pantomime Programme

2020 is the first year since 1968 that there has been no pantomime at the King's! Donate now to receive a copy of the programme for the 2021 King's Panto Sleeping Beauty, signed by the lead members of the cast. A perfect Christmas gift for all Panto lovers! (programmes will be available 01 December 2021)

£20 or more

28 of 35 claimed

£20 Come in for a drink when we re-open - 2 people

Show you support for our theatres by making a donation and look forward to a drink at The Festival and King's Theatre Bars when we re-open. Come see a show or pop along to our café and enjoy a drink with a friend using a drinks voucher.

£50 or more

9 of 10 claimed

£50 Raid the Theatre Bar! Over 18s only

Enjoy drinks on us with this virtual gin tasting event, hosted by drinks expert Nikki Welch. Sample the delights of the Capital Theatres Edinburgh Gin selection, and be led through the tasting with your on-line host Nikki via Zoom. Nikki is a drinks entrepreneur and business coach, and a published author of 3 books and is the founder and creator of the WineTubeMap, WhiskyTubeMap and BeerTubeMap, flavour maps to decode wine, whisky and beer

£75 or more

9 of 10 claimed

£75 Conversation with Ian Rankin (3rd Dec on Zoom)

Join King’s Theatre Ambassador and Edinburgh’s very own Crime Writer Ian Rankin for an exclusive conversation on Zoom. Brighten up your winter evening with an hour in Ian’s company discussing author voices represented in theatre, including of course Detective Inspector John Rebus and get a signed copy of Ian’s new book A Song for the Dark Times. Take part wherever you are in the world. Date: Thursday 3 December, 2020 7.30 - 8.30pm (GMT)

£100 or more

7 of 10 claimed

£100 Fizz Reception with Elaine C Smith – 2 people

You and a friend can look forward to a fun-filled evening with beloved Scottish actress and our very own King’s Theatre Ambassador Elaine C Smith at an exclusive reception at the Festival Theatre. Enjoy a glass of bubbly while you hear from Elaine about her career and get the chance to ask your burning questions to this hilarious legend of both stage and screen.

£250 or more

23 of 25 claimed

£250 King's Panto rehearsal preview

Here is your exclusive chance to attend a rehearsal of the King's Panto 2021, and meet the stars of the cast of Sleeping Beauty. Join us for refreshments in The Studio, before taking a sneak peak in the rehearsal room, and hear from the Panto stars themselves about how the Panto comes together each year! Selfies with the cast and signed Panto programmes guaranteed! Parties of up to 6 people allowed, and under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.

£30 or more

30 of 30 claimed

£30 Festival Theatre Ghost Tour - 2 spaces

Have you ever experienced something unexplainable or otherworldly in the Festival Theatre? You are not alone. The phantom of the opera has nothing on our ghosts! Bring a friend on the hunt with us on our group spooky ghost tour around the Festival Theatre. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours.

£30 or more

5 of 5 claimed

£30 Festival Theatre Rooftop Experience - 2 people

Do you want to see Edinburgh's iconic skyline like you've never seen it before? Take a tour to the roof of the Festival Theatre and enjoy views to Arthur’s Seat, the Pentlands and across to Fife on a fine day. Participants must be able to climb stairs, ladders and have a good head for heights. And remember to dress for the weather! Tour takes approximately 1 hour.

£30 or more

3 of 3 claimed

£30 King's Theatre Rooftop Experience - 2 people

Do you want to see Edinburgh's iconic skyline like you've never seen it before? Take a tour to the roof of the King's Theatre and enjoy views to Arthur’s Seat, the Pentlands and across to Fife on a fine day. Participants must be able to climb stairs, ladders and have a good head for heights. And remember to dress for the weather! Tour takes approximately 1 hour.

£35 or more

220 of 220 claimed

£35 Discounted Friends Membership

Grab yourself a bargain with a discounted Friends Membership for Capital Theatres (normally £42) • Valid for 12 months from the date when our venues re-open, enjoy 2for1 ticket offers, 20% discount off opening night shows, 20% discount in our theatre cafes and bars, priority booking and many more benefits! Join our Capital Theatres family of Friends.

£50 or more

10 of 10 claimed

£50 Raid the Theatre Bar! Over 18s only

Enjoy drinks on us with this virtual whisky tasting event, hosted by drinks expert Nikki Welch. Sample the delights of the Capital Theatres whisky selection, and be led through the tasting with your on-line host Nikki via Zoom. Nikki is a drinks entrepreneur and business coach, and a published author of 3 books and is the founder and creator of the WineTubeMap, WhiskyTubeMap and BeerTubeMap, flavour maps to decode wine, whisky and beer

£65 or more

4 of 4 claimed

£65 What a Pantomime! Print by Jennifer Thomson

Treat yourself to a lasting memento of the hustle and bustle of the King’s Theatre on Panto night with an iconic print by local Edinburgh artist Jennifer Thomson. Jennifer’s aim as an artist is to capture the happy moments in life. What could be happier than a family night at the King’s panto! Prints are standard A3 size, mounted.

£75 or more

20 of 20 claimed

£75 Join our Tech Team for a day! (2 people)

We've shared with you video footage of our expert Technical Team during lockdown. Now it's your chance to learn the tricks of their trade! Join our experts at the Festival Theatres and learn the secrets behind the shows. Look down on the stage from the fly floor - not for the faint hearted - have a go at the follow spot, raise the curtain and have a tinker on the lighting desk and blast some sounds out the PA! Under 18s must be joined by an adult

£150 or more

10 of 10 claimed

£150 Take to the Fly Floor -for 2 people at a time

Join our Head Flyman at the Festival Theatre to see the workings of a show being constructed. Observe a show being built from the Fly Floor - watch as all the lights and scenery are flown into the air and the set is loaded in and built. Participants must be fit and able to climb flights of steep stairs; comfortable in confined spaces and have a good head for heights! This behind the scenes exclusive is for 2 people and only 5 available!

£150 or more

5 of 5 claimed

£150 Light Up the Stage – 2 people

Join our lighting technicians and watch a show of your choice (from a selection we will offer) from the lighting desk of the King's Theatre. See first-hand how the lighting brings a performance to life. Participants must be able to climb flights of stairs and have a good head for heights!

£200 or more

10 of 10 claimed

£200 Limited Edition Alexander McCall Smith Print

Add a little bit of Alexander McCall Smith magic to your life with an exclusive, limited edition print of his brand-new poem about the King’s Theatre. Be the first to read this poem by our King's Ambassador, written exclusively for this campaign. The poem will be uniquely illustrated by a local artist and presented as a numbered, limited edition print. *Please note the prints are unframed with mount and backing board.

£500 or more

10 of 10 claimed

£500 VIP Package for 4 at the Festival Theatre

Become a VIP for the night at the Festival Theatre with four top price tickets for a show of your choice (from a selection we will offer), and exclusive use of the VIP box for you and your friends. Enjoy a complimentary bottle of bubbly and some tasty treats in the box at the interval, with your own dedicated waiter, and free programmes for your party.

£500 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£500 Scottish Opera ‘Behind the scenes’ Experience

Scottish Opera invite you to experience a performance in the Festival Theatre as you’ve never done so before. This is a rare opportunity to see first-hand the excitement of an operatic production. Watch one half from the wings, and the second half in the orchestra pit and experience the orchestra and the Conductor close-up! Performance date will be in consultation with Scottish Opera, and subject to social distancing guidelines.

£1,000 or more

4 of 4 claimed

£1,000 Meet the stars of the 2021 King's Panto !

Get the VIP experience at the 2021 King's pantomime Sleeping Beauty! Enjoy private use of our function suite for pre-show and interval drinks before meeting the stars onstage after the show for an exclusive sneak-peak behind-the-scenes. Includes 4 top price tickets (from a date we will offer before Christmas 2021) and complimentary drinks for your party donated by Corporate Partner Inverarity Morton.

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.