Scotland’s largest independent theatre organisation, Festival City Theatres Trust, is changing its name to Capital Theatres.
Effective from Thursday 1 March, the charitable trust which runs the Festival and King’s Theatres and The Studio, rebrands as Capital Theatres. The name change reflects the growth of the organisation and the need to establish an identifiable ‘home’ brand for its three Edinburgh city centre theatre venues and for the learning and participation activity that operates across them.
The Empire Theatre Trust was established in 1991 to transform the Empire Theatre into the grand Festival Theatre we know today and to operate that theatre. The trust was renamed the Festival City Theatres Trust in 1998 when it took over the management of the King’s Theatre from the Local Authority. The King’s Theatre has since become a thriving city centre venue which hosts a packed programme of touring theatre and family shows and presents one of the UK’s most successful pantomimes. The Trust’s expansion continued in 2013 with the opening of The Studio on Potterrow – a rehearsal and performance space built to the rear of the Festival Theatre.
As the Trust has expanded the programmes in its theatres, it has worked with its audiences to create accessible, dementia friendly theatres, with learning and participation activity including theatre talks and dance workshops to engage with audiences of all ages. Over the years it has consistently invested in its buildings and its customer services to create a quality of experience that visitors can rely on.
With the change of name to Capital Theatres, the organisation creates a unifying brand. Previously the Festival City Theatres Trust sat behind the theatre venue identities. Capital Theatres will provide a more prominent overarching brand for the organisation and will become recognised with partners locally, nationally and internationally.
Chief Executive Duncan Hendry says: ‘We feel this name change will simplify the organisational name, will establish a recognisable brand that our customers can relate to and make it easier for us to communicate our charitable and educational ambitions.’
The rebrand as Capital Theatres will be supported by refreshed brand identities for The Festival Theatre, The King’s Theatre and The Studio. The new brand identity for the Festival Theatre reflects its contemporary façade and the grand sweep of its public spaces. The new King’s Theatre identity pays homage to the building’s iconic outline and its rich cultural heritage, and the frame of The Studio logo suggests the flexibility of a white box where anything is possible.
Renaming as Capital Theatres will also assist with fundraising for the King’s Theatre. In 2017, the organisation announced its plans for a £25 million redevelopment project for the King’s, with construction work expected to start in the autumn of 2021 and with a proposed closure period of 20 months. This project will transform the theatre into an accessible, lively all-day arts venue with new spaces created for hospitality and for learning and heritage activities.
Fraser MacDonald | Image: Contributed