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Key Edinburgh institutions team up

Two of Edinburgh’s most iconic Old Town institutions are joining forces in a move that is set to deliver a multi-million-pound boost into the heart of the city.

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and the Festival Theatre are pooling their resources to create a one-stop ‘large conference destination’ with unrivalled character – utilising the best qualities of some of the capital’s finest settings.

In sharing their space and expertise, the ambitious venues will be able to manage conferences for up to 750 delegates, which has the potential to generate significant income for the city.

The established conference business at the College is managed by its commercial arm, Surgeons Quarter and already hosts more than 1,000 events per year 30 of which have in excess of 250 attendees.


Enabling access to the auditorium at the Festival Theatre, which has a seating capacity of over 1,900 - along with Scotland’s largest stage - positions the stunning venues as a new and distinctly different option for larger conferences.

Moira Walker, marketing manager for Surgeons Quarter, said: “The benefits that our collaboration will bring to Edinburgh are not just financial; these conferences draw in some of the brightest minds from across the world.

“They give our local industry leaders the chance to share work with, and learn from, key players in a variety of fields.

“In keeping with our setting, our venues offer soul and character – qualities that are so often missed in large-scale purpose-built centres.

“We’re located directly across from the Festival Theatre, and in true neighbourly style, we’ve established a solid working relationship over the years.”

The combined offering is being marketed at destinations across the world, from Las Vegas to Frankfurt, thanks to Surgeons Quarter Sales Manager, Elizabeth Squair, who is tasked with driving associated business. Elizabeth will also promote this unique product in Dubai at an ICCA event which Surgeons Quarter is now delighted to be a member of.


Niall Dewar, deputy head of front of house and customer services at Festival Theatre, said: “This is a huge opportunity as it opens up a market and revenue stream otherwise unavailable to us.

“For CEOs and speakers of a more theatrical nature, we’re hopeful the prospect of presenting on the largest stage in Scotland will be hugely appealing.”

“Each of our combined spaces are completely unique and cover every need of any conference - from the main event held here, through to a huge arrange of options for the post-conference social programme.

“In collaborating we can offer the true character of Edinburgh, while fitting around the practical requirements that conference organisers face in the city centre.”

Amanda Ferguson, head of business tourism at Marketing Edinburgh, said: “This agreement between RCSEd and Festival Theatre is a forward-thinking, professional relationship that will see Edinburgh able to offer high-class service in the heart of the Old Town.

“Economically, this is a big deal for the capital. Conference bookings of this size see the monetary benefits ricochet throughout the city, reaching beyond the traditional tourism sector and benefitting Edinburgh’s many industry sectors – facilitating international connections, collaboration and even inward investment.

“The capital is fast making a name for itself as the place to be for conferences and events and it’s excellent to see these organisations helping further enhance that reputation.”

The RCSEd itself boasts historic and modern buildings including its own four-star hotel, Ten Hill Place, which is currently undergoing a major expansion from 77 to 129 rooms.