Music and Theatre
Aside from the city's internationally renowned Summer festivals, Edinburgh offers an eclectic variety of musical performances and theatre throughout the year, each held in a range of stunning performance venues.
Since 1896, when Andrew Usher made his historic gift of £100,000 to the City of Edinburgh to found a concert hall, the Usher Hall has become one of the most outstanding concert halls in the world. The Usher Hall is the city's key venue for national and international orchestras and has been the main venue for the Edinburgh International Festival since 1947. The beautiful Beaux Arts concert hall was completed in 1914 and remains one of Edinburgh's architectural gems. The much praised acoustics make it one of the best concert halls in Europe with many of the world's finest musicians performing here. Today the Usher Hall is a centre of excellence embracing the widest range of music and events, including rock, pop, jazz, world, blues, comedy, talks, school concerts, conferences, sponsorship events, ceremonies, lectures and recording sessions.
King's plays host to the country's major touring dramas, including West End, National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company productions. The venue was built as a variety theatre in 1906 and over the years has played host to legendary performers such as Stanley Baxter, Rikki Fulton and Jimmy Logan. The 1350-seat venue continues to play a prominent role in the community, hosting the ever-popular King's pantomime and a number of productions from local amateur societies throughout the year.
The Festival Theatre stands on the site of the old Empire Theatre and opened in 1994, boasting the largest stage of any presenting house in Britain at the time. Today, at just over 2,500 square feet it is the largest performance area in Scotland, second only to the Royal Opera House in the UK, and is established as one of the country's most prestigious venues. It is the Capital's home for Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera and at the heart of the Edinburgh International Festival, it has also gained an international reputation as one of the leading dance houses in the world. The 1915-seat venue hosts a cutting-edge contemporary dance season alongside large-scale musicals, international ballet productions and a variety of one-night musical events.
Home to one of Scotland's largest and most successful production companies, The Royal Lyceum Theatre is a beautiful Victorian building with a long history. Built in 1883, its early days saw performances by the likes of Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, whilst being run by legendary theatre managers John B Howard and Frederick W Wyndham. Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the building has remained a theatre space and was taken over in 1965 by the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company.
The Traverse Theatre was founded in 1963 by a group of passionate arts enthusiasts seeking to extend the spirit of the Festival throughout the year. From its conception, it has embraced a spirit of innovation and risk-taking that launched the careers of many of Scotland's best-known writers.
Originally built in 1823 as Hope Park Chapel, Queens Hall was converted in 1979 and formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Today, it offers a wide range of events to tempt you - classical, jazz, blues, pop, rock, world, folk and comedy, and is also the year-round performance home of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, playing an important role for the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.