Capital Theatres has today thanked the public for its “incredible support” of the theatres through its crowdfunder campaign, an urgent appeal for support launched last month.

The Crowdfunder closed at noon today having raised £86,900 from 1670 people, more than doubling its original target of £35,000.

Capital Theatres, which operates Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre, Festival Theatre and The Studio had asked for donations to help ensure its three city centre theatres can re-open when it is safe to do so, and to ensure continued access to creativity and the arts for the most vulnerable communities during Covid-19. 

The theatres said the "money raised through this outpouring of love and affection for the organisation and its theatres will be put to great use protecting the core staff of the theatres, maintaining the heritage buildings and preparing for a March re-opening should government restrictions, public safety and science allow".

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A series of rewards proved popular with supporters, especially opportunities to get behind the scenes with the tech team at the theatres, enjoy a glass of fizz with Elaine C Smith or a chat about theatre voices with Ian Rankin over zoom, an illustrated limited edition poem about the King’s Theatre by King’s Ambassador Alexander McCall Smith, and the opportunity to appear in the next panto.

HeraldScotland: Festival Theatre auditorium.Festival Theatre auditorium.

Fiona Gibson, chief executive of Capital Theatre’s, Scotland’s largest theatre charity, said: “All of us here at Capital Theatres are very humbled by the response from the public to our appeal. We know we still have a long way to go to reopen our doors, but an incredible show of support like this, with wonderful comments and memories shared, clearly demonstrates what our theatres mean to so many.

"It gives us all the passion, energy and determination we need to ensure we survive this crisis through bringing back great shows to our stages when we can and to support our community throughout. A huge, huge thank you to everyone who made this possible with your incredibly generous donations. We can’t wait to welcome you back over our doors when it’s safe for us to do so.

“A huge thank-you too to our King’s Ambassadors, our national companies Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet and to Birmingham Royal Ballet as well as our corporate partners for their in-kind support of the campaign, and to all of our stakeholders for their beautiful words of encouragement and support.”

READ MORE: Festival Theatre and King’s Theatre benefit from emergency funding

Other members of the Capital Theatres staff team added their thanks as news of the scale of donations was shared.

“I was blown away watching all the rewards get snapped up and our total just soar and soar. It truly brought home a sense of belonging to, and our value in the community both at home and afar. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you soon. Thank you for your support.” said Mark Pringle, head flyman.

Cat Sheridan, learning and participation coordinator, said: “I am so overwhelmed by the incredible support for Capital Theatres and our ‘Raise The Curtain’ programme, without which none of our digital engagement sessions, with our wonderful participants, would be possible."

Joanna Miller, head of marketing, said: “We have been overwhelmed at the outpouring of love for the theatres from the 1670 donors and the generosity of our Friends, customers, Edinburgh’s arts community and the city’s residents. This money will help us to provide entertainment and inspiration during this current pandemic whilst our venues are closed. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Capital Theatres is currently actively campaigning to receive emergency Government funding at the same level as other publicly supported theatres, which would allow the theatres to continue to play a vital part in Edinburgh's year-round thriving arts scene and support the local and national economy.  

A petition calling on the Scottish Government to recognise the scale of emergency facing Capital Theatres on Change.org has secured 12,667 signatures to date and is still open for those looking to lend their voice to its campaign.