From Wilde Beginnings to an Essential Creative Hub

Launched on Wednesday (16 September) at a special anniversary event, the exhibition celebrates the Morningside theatre’s unique position in supporting an exceptional array of non-professional companies to flourish over the last half century; many of whom have well and truly embedded themselves into the fabric of the venue - some of whom perform there year after year.

The theatre’s team has spent the last few months unearthing amusing and poignant tales from yesteryear and combining these with memorabilia from performances past to create a wonderful, engaging exhibition to captivate visitors and illustrate the theatres remarkable impact and history.

With submissions from a number of the regular companies including Edinburgh’s People’s Theatre, who have staged the venue’s annual pantomime every year (bar one) since it opened, Opera Camerata, South Morningside Stage Club and many, many more they have been able to capture the importance of the venue to the city and the area.

To accompany the exhibition in the Category B listed former church, the team produced a short film, which premiered on the evening and brought fifty years of theatrical achievements to life. Invited guests were also treated to a performance from the Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus in the venue’s welcoming bar. Amongst those invited guests was Christelle Steele and Deryk Goule, original cast members from the Scottish Community Drama Association, who staged the venue’s first ever performance, Oscar Wilde’s classic, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture & Sport at the City of Edinburgh Council, who opened proceedings on Wednesday said, “Our very own Church Hill Theatre has been an important part of Edinburgh’s non-professional theatre scene for half a century now and is going from strength to strength. A unique part of our city’s theatre scene and community life, the Church Hill Theatre is a treasured venue in Edinburgh and we are looking forward to another magical fifty years.”

Shona Clelland, General Manager of Church Hill Theatre said: “The theatre is such a special venue that has carved out a place in people’s affections over the years, both from Edinburgh and further afield. We’ve uncovered some magical moments during our research for the exhibition and film and it was important that these were captured not only for people to enjoy and reminisce, but to preserve the history of the Church Hill Theatre. 

“This is just the start of a year of celebrations commemorating an amazing half century and we hope to continue to welcome many people through the doors.”

Following Wednesday’s festivities the exhibition and the film will be open for the public to enjoy upon their visits to the theatre over the coming months. Church Hill Theatre, which is owned and run by the City of Edinburgh Council, is still keen to hear from people who have memories to share of their experiences of the theatre. Anyone interested should get in touch with Paul McKerrow, Operations Manager,

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