The current king of the city’s arts scene, hosting performances of all shapes and sizes. Even when there’s nothing on, great bars and food are worth dropping by
As Edinburgh’s newest – and hippest – multi-arts venue, Summerhall has quickly evolved from its former life as the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies into a cutting edge performance space.
Year round it puts on a programme of largely avant-garde, occasionally political exhibitions, talks, music, theatre and dance, and film events – as well as functioning as a space for workshops and residencies.
It’s quickly emerged as the go-to for ground-breaking, thought-provoking work during the Festival, with shows performed in everything from the lecture hall-slash-theatre spaces, to site-specific works in basement corridors and tiny lifts. In lesser hands dubbing yourself as a ‘cross cultural village for innovators’ would sound a little, well, pretentious. But here, they largely deliver.
Geeks aren’t ignored either, with the addition of TechCube providing a space for technology start-ups to rub shoulders and develop their ideas.
Eccentricities from its former life as a veterinary school reside throughout what’s essentially a labyrinth of a building, from the odd bit of taxidermy on the wall and operating tables in the bar, to the much-loved Dissection Room.
Beyond its success an arts venue, it’s also establishing itself as a popular place to grab a coffee or a beer, and The Royal Dick Bar and Bistro, which was once the Small Animal Hospital at the school is fast emerging as great place to loiter in, largely thanks to a decent food menu. Across in the café, a decent cuppa is guaranteed, along with a regular exhibition of pop art posters, including work by usual suspects Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and more.
As an additional hoorah, they have a resident craft brewery, which produces Summerhall Pale Ale, brewed by Barney’s Beer.
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