Opera Scotland

Assembly Hall Edinburgh

The Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland is an excellent example of Gothic revival from the nineteenth century. The main auditorium used to operate as a wonderful theatre space for some of the most memorable events at the Edinburgh Festival.  These ended when the building became the location of the revived Scottish Parliament for a few years until the Holyrood building came into being. Since then it has not been used again - admittedly the city now has more theatres, both new and restored, that existed in those early days. However it did have a special atmosphere that is much missed.

The very first Festival in 1947 featured Tyrone Guthrie's memorable exhumation of Sir David Lyndsay's Ane Satire of the Thrie Estaites, a great work of Scottish Renaissance literature that was revived at several Festivals over the years. This used a thrust stage with the audience on three sides, a revolutionary idea at the time. The hall has also been the location of dozens of memorable productions of classic dramas, particularly by Shakespeare.

Opera has featured infrequently, though Scottish Opera did mount a successful staging of The Soldier's Tale in 1967, when the Festival was dominated by its Stravinsky theme. Bernstein's musical Candide was also given a hugely enjoyable and lively rendition by Birmingham Rep, in repertoire with As You Like It in 1981.

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