Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Edinburgh, UK

This 1,940-seat theatre - formerly known as the Empire Theatre was built in 1928, however its stage was too small to host large opera and ballet companies, and its front of house facilities were poor. For many years the Festival and the City of Edinburgh lacked a proper opera house, where large international companies could be seen and heard at their best.

Then, in the early 90s, Edinburgh Council, decided to embark on a major remodelling of the Empire - which, between, 1992 and 1994, saw: the auditorium restored after nearly 30 years as a bingo hall; the old stage house demolished, and replaced by one of the largest stages in the UK, and the back and front of house completely rebuilt. All glass foyers and a large restaurant and bar now greet arriving audiences. Edinburgh finally has its Opera House.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Credit: Theatre Projects

Edinburgh Council


Law and Dunbar Nasmith


Sandy Brown Associates


Touring performances, local and regional groups

Seat count


Construction type


Theatre type

Multipurpose theatre, Opera house


Concept design, theatre planning, and performance equipment design and specification



Venue website


Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Credit: Theatre Projects

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