Festival Heroes: Two decades behind the scenes

Edinburgh International Festival pays tribute to Festival Heroes - meet Emily Hall from the charity Capital Theatres, which operates three busy city venues: the Festival Theatre, King’s Theatre and The Studio

In a spirit of gratitude to all those whose hard work, encouragement and friendship supported the Capital’s festival community down the years, Edinburgh International Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary by shining a light on Festival Heroes – people who have selflessly opened their hearts and homes, and welcomed the world to Edinburgh.

A building conservationist by trade, who moved from Fife to Edinburgh in 2002, Emily Hall has been with Capital Theatres for more than 13 years, having started in the café and now working behind the scenes at the stage door at the King’s and Festival Theatres, two of the biggest entertainment venues in the Capital.

What made her stay this long? She says it’s the amazing people she’s met down the years. “I’ve worked every festival since 2002. There are two things I love most: getting to know the festival team – some of which I’ve known for the two decades I’ve been here – and the amazing shows we work on.

CAPITAL WELCOME: Emily Hall has been a friendly face greeting theatre companies visiting Edinburgh at every festival since 2002. Picture: Jassy Earl

“Theatre companies come from all over the world, each bringing their own unique life experiences, and we get to meet here, in Edinburgh, to work together on shows. It’s pretty special.”

Emily is the friendly face they meet. She goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone on a production – from the director through to the technical crew – has the easiest experience of getting into and out of venues, and all that happens in-between. She adds: “It would be remiss of me not to say it is a team effort – the stage door team catches things others might have missed, fixes things in the background. They deserve this recognition as much as I do.”

Next month, Emily will be back at college to learn joinery –from building tables and window frames to stud walls.

As part of the course, Emily is required to do an apprenticeship and she hopes she’ll be able to try out her skills on the refurbishment of the King’s Theatre – one of a handful of grade-A listed theatres in the UK, and more than 100 years old, the venue will be undergoing a major redevelopment commencing once the Edinburgh festivals are over.

Edinburgh International Festival

Join Edinburgh International Festival in thanking this city by attending Thank You, Edinburgh, a free concert featuring the legendary Philadelphia Orchestra.

The performance will be live-streamed into the Princess Street Gardens from The Playhouse at 3pm on 27th August. For more information go to www.eif.co.uk.