Eden Court Theatre
|Type||Regional theatre and Cinema|
|Current use||Touring and local productions|
|Rebuilt||2007 by Page / Park|
|Architect||Law Dunbar Naismith|
Eden Court Theatre (Scottish Gaelic: Cùirt an Easbaig) is a large theatre, cinema and arts venue situated in Inverness, Scotland close to the banks of the River Ness. The theatre has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and major extension, adding a second theatre, two dedicated cinema screens, two performance/dance studios, improved dressing room and green room facilities and additional office space. The theatre's restaurant and bar facilities have also been totally overhauled and improved.
Plans for a theatre, restaurant and dance-hall were put first forward in November 1967, then lengthy negotiations followed. The Eden Court Theatre was formally opened on 15 April 1976 by Andrew Cruickshank MBE, an actor best known for his portrayal of Dr Cameron in BBC's long-running series "Dr Finlay's Casebook". It was built on a site next to the Ness river and incorporated the gothic Bishop's Palace residence (from which it took its name) into a new building designed by architects Law Dunbar and Naismith. The theatre was at that time a revolution to Inverness, and the wider Highland Region. It provided modern theatre performance space for the first time since the early '30s. Inverness had previously had a number of theatres including the Theatre Royal, previously situated on Bank street which burnt down in 1934  and the Empire Theatre on Academy Street. This theatre had originally opened as The Central Hall Picture House in 1912, but after the Theatre Royal burnt down, it was converted to a fully functioning theatre and reopened as the Empire around 1934. The building was designed by A. Ross & Son and was eventually demolished in 1971. Many famous names performed at this popular venue - Harry Lauder, Renee Houston and Calum Kennedy to name a few. Today the modern British Telecom building stands in its place. A theatre by the name of The Playhouse also existed in Inverness situated in the Eastgate area of the town centre.
Eden Court reopened in November 2007, having undergone a complete refurbishment and extension by Robertson Construction and Page\Park Architects. Upon its reopening it became the largest combined arts centre in Scotland. With the reconstruction complete the theatre now has two auditoriums, the main auditorium, renamed the Empire Theatre has a capacity of just under 840. The second auditorium, named the One Touch Theatre has a capacity of approximately 270. The two new cinemas, La Scala and The Playhouse, have capacities of 125 and 78 respectively.
The Empire Theatre, La Scala and Playhouse are named after the former venues of those names (the first La Scala was a cinema in Strother's Lane which closed down in the 1990s). The One Touch Theatre is named after the OneTouch Ultra diabetes monitor, produced by local employer LifeScan. La Scala and Playhouse host the annual Inverness Film Festival which includes many Scottish Premieres and niche and foreign language films.
The refurbished theatre also includes the Jim Love Studio, named after the late Inverness Courier editor.
Coordinates: It won the 2009 "Specialist Carpentry Refurbishment Award" for the high standard of carpentry work carried out in the Bishops Palace as undertaken by specialist contractor Ryvoan Developments.