On the junction of Ferry Road and Great Junction Street, its beautiful facade hidden behind Leith Library, is one of Edinburgh’s forgotten buildings, a venue that once resounded to the juddering power chords of AC/DC and the pioneering electronica of Kraftwerk, as well as hosting international grade theatre by the likes of Yuri Lyubimov and Yukio Ninagawa. The building is Leith Theatre.
These days the main house, which was closed by City of Edinburgh Council in 1988, is in sad need of some tender loving care. To try and bring that about, Leith Theatre Trust, a group of volunteers who plan to reopen the building in full, are using the adjacent Thomas Morton Hall for a series of gigs, aimed at raising the profile of the building and getting the local community involved, as well as generating much-needed funds.
The third of the Leith Theatre Sessions takes place in the Hall on 15 November, with a line-up of classic rock, americana and singer-songwriters. Topping the bill are Edinburgh quartet the Wynntown Marshals, whose The Long Haul LP came tenth in the Herald’s Top 50 Scottish albums of 2013, ahead of Franz Ferdinand, Glasvegas and Boards of Canada. They have recorded sessions for Bob Harris on Radio 2, opened for the likes of Richmond Fontaine and Chuck Prophet, and been called “as good as Americana gets” by Americana UK. They are headliners of the finest quality.
Supporting them in Leith are Edinburgh’s leading rock covers band, CHIL, who promise a set full of classics from the 60s onwards. There are also performances by young band The Lonely Together – who have been championed by Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, but don’t let that put you off – and Mount Juliet, a duo comprising the acoustic country talents of Roy Henderson and Hannah O’Reilly.
With local craft brewers Pilot providing the bar, it’s a true Leith affair (although non-Leithers are welcome!), and one for the very good cause of restoring this magnificent building.