ONE of Scotland’s oldest institutions is further expanding into the events market with the launch later this month of a new Celtic cabaret.
Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons is aiming to attract up to 16,000 visitors annually to the Slainte Scottish Experience, an evening of traditional food and entertainment.
Shows will run regularly from May to October, taking advantage of the venue’s increased capacity following the opening last year of the Prince Philip Building.
The Slainte Scottish Experience will be hosted in the historic Playfair Hall with entertainment by the team behind Jamie’s Scottish Evening, the country’s longest-running stage show.
It ran for 40 years at the King James Thistle Hotel, but came to an end when the hotel closed as part of the redevelopment of the Edinburgh St James area.
Scott Mitchell, commercial director at the Royal College, said the end of the Jamie’s evenings created an opportunity to add to the institution’s conference and events business. Last year, Surgeons’ Hall hosted more than 240 external events across its four venues: the Playfair Building, which dates back to 1832; the 158-seat auditorium at the King Khalid Building; the Quincentenary Building opened in 2005; and the Prince Philip Building.
“We now obviously have to bring in an entertainment team, so we have partnered with the team that previously produced Jamie’s Scottish Evenings at the Thistle,” Mitchell said. “We have adapted the show and brought it up to date, whilst adding more historical content.”
A preview night is scheduled for 15 March, giving international and local travel agents the opportunity to sample food from Royal Warranted caterer Heritage Portfolio and wines from merchant Corney and Barrow, which also holds a Royal Warrant.
Entertainment will feature piping, traditional Scottish dancing and a journey through Scottish history.
“We believe there is plenty of room in the marketplace for several Scottish nights to run in the city at the same time,” Mitchell said.
Edinburgh’s conference and events industry generates about £300 million annually for the local economy.
Lesley Williams, of Marketing Edinburgh, said the new Slainte Scottish Experience should help strengthen the city’s tourist sector.
“Marketing Edinburgh is delighted to see new experiential events like this being developed, which encourage more visitors and promotes collaboration,” she said.