St Stephen's Stockbridge

St Stephen's Church in Stockbridge
Robert Alstead/
Venue details
105 St Stephen Street
Edinburgh Area
Telephone (info)
0131 556 2661
Fringe Venue
About the venue

No longer used for Sunday services, the towering, photogenic Church in Stockbridge is currently used as a  performance space, theatre and ballet school, for community events, and private and commercial events.

The fine acoustics of this expansive building have made it an attractive venue for choral concerts and music recitals.

During the Fringe in August, Saint Stephen's has been home to a number of production companies: C Venues (called C Scala), the Northern Stage (2012), the Traverse (2010), Assembly Aurora Nova (2001-2007) have all performed here. 

Ian McKellen premiered a new production of Hamlet here in the Ashton Hall at Edinburgh Fringe 2022.

Saint Stephen's was bought on 12 July 2017, by Peter Schaufuss, founder of the English National Ballet School. Schaufuss set in course a plan to make the main hall "a world-class theatre, one that will attract productions from leading companies from around the world." 

The newly formed Edinburgh Festival Ballet and its School and the MGA Academy theatre school both operate out of the building. 

St Stephens was previously owned by the Benzies Foundation (named after video game producer Leslie Benzies), which bought the property from the Church of Scotland on 27th June 2014. It had plans to build a dance house and theatre in the round.

Historical background

Saint Stephen's was designed by renowned Edinburgh architect William Henry Playfair (1789–1857) and built in 1827-1828.

The first minister of the church was William Muir, who opened an evening school in the large vaulted cellars of the church for the education of the illiterate.

With a declining congregation, in 1956-1957, Reverend A. Ian Dunlop raised funds to alter the interior, creating one of the first subdivisions of major buildings in Edinburgh. A floor was installed at the gallery level.

The reconstructed church, with its rebuilt Willis organ, occupied the upper, gallery level and is accessed by the main entrance.

The main hall with a stage and meeting rooms were established at the lower level.


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