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Festival Theatre Main Stage

Festival Theatre Main Stage image

Built in 1994, the impressive glass facade imposes a sense of occasion as you enter the sleek and contemporary foyer spaces. Enjoy a drink in our spacious bars and take in the inspiring views across to Arthur's Seat - but don't let the modern entrance fool you - the traditional 1915-seat auditorium, with its sumptuous decor and lavish fittings, has all the grandeur and splendour you need for a truly special theatrical experience.

Designed as Scotland's premier dance and opera house in 1994, the stage is the largest in Scotland, providing the perfect platform for world-class contemporary dance and ballet, and excellent acoustics make it a number one venue for opera, musicals and concerts. The Festival Theatre continues to provide the best programme of dance and opera in the country, as well as a variety of world-class productions across all artforms. Home to the International Festival in the summer, and Christmas shows in winter, you'll find unmissable entertainment here all year round.

The Festival Theatre is by no means short of history either - and we've got the ghost stories to prove it! Standing on Edinburgh's longest continuous theatre site, and previously Edinburgh's beloved Empire Palace Theatre, over a century of famous acts have graced the stage - from Laurel and Hardy and Judy Garland to David Bowie and John Cleese. A tragic fire on stage in 1911 led to one of the most interesting stories in Edinburgh's history - join one of our backstage tours for a real insight into the fascinating past of this historic venue.



Edinburgh is a cycle-friendly city. At peak times, cyclists can share the buses' green lanes and many junctions have advance cycle stop lines. Racks are available on Nicholson Street, Chambers Street and Nicholson Square Gardens to park your bike.


(From Princes Street) The Festival Theatre is on Nicolson Street, which is the continuation of North Bridge heading south from the east end of Princes Street (the Balmoral Hotel is on the corner of Princes Street and North Bridge). The theatre is on the right hand side of the road; approximately 10 minutes walk from the east end of Princes Street.


The nearest rail station to the Festival Theatre is Waverley Station.


The Festival Theatre is accessible by many different bus routes across the city.

The main Lothian bus routes which serve the Festival Theatre are: numbers 3, 3A, 5, 7, 8, 14, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 47, 49

First Buses: 86, 86A

Please visit for real time bus information in Edinburgh


The Festival Theatre is on Nicolson Street, which is the continuation of North Bridge heading south from Princes Street. 


There is limited street parking around the Festival Theatre. There is a small car park located about 5 minutes walk from the theatre on Niddry Street (7am - 11pm, 7 days). For further car park information visit Central Car Parks.

Many of our venues in and around the city centre are easily accessible on foot and by public transport so please consider the environment when planning your travel to and from our events. Public transport information is available from Traveline Scotland - and 0871 200 22 33 - 24 hours a day.

Check out the latest Festival programme here!


13-29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh

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