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The Room Where It Happened- Hamilton Arrives at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre!

"Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?"

- Hamilton



Step into the spotlight and experience theatre magic in the heart of Edinburgh! Join us as we share a bit of the history of the prestigious Festival Theatre and discuss the grand arrival of Hamilton at the iconic venue. From the dazzling lights to the mesmerizing performances, get ready to be swept off your feet into a world where music, revolution, and history collide in perfect harmony. So, grab your tickets, take your seat, and join us as we tell you all about how this Broadway sensation took the Scottish stage by storm! 

 

The Wee Walking Tours family are huge fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s incredible work, and we, like so many people around the world, love the music and songs from his hit show, Hamilton. Therefore, when we found out a year ago that the musical was coming to the Festival Theatre, we knew we had to get tickets. After using multiple devices and enduring the longest virtual queues we’ve ever experienced (thousands of people were already ahead when we logged on and we did so as soon as the tickets went on sale), we were able to secure tickets.

 


With that excitement behind us, we then had to wait an agonising year before the show would make its way here. However, before we get into more of our Hamilton experience, we would like to tell you a bit more about the venue itself- Festival Theatre.

 

“The Room Where It Happens”

 

Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, this iconic venue has been a beacon of culture and creativity for decades, enchanting audiences with its world-class performances and timeless charm.  Festival Theatre sits on the longest continuous running theatre site in Edinburgh. It boasts a storied past filled with tales of drama, comedy, music, and dance. It has evolved quite a bit over the years and has been known by a few different names including – Royal Amphitheatre, Dunedin Hall, Newsome’s Circus, The Empire Palace, and the Empire.

 

The current stage dates from 1928, but the site was renovated in 1994 with new a front of house area and, most notably, a stunning glass façade built (pictured at the beginning of this article), beautifully blending old and new. It was at this time that it became known as Festival Theatre.

 


The Festival Theatre is a hub for the arts and is the largest performance area in Scotland. It is home to the Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera. It also hosts renowned productions from across the globe during the Edinburgh International Festival. Furthermore, its large seating capacity allows for numerous musicals, stand-up shows, live music shows, and various theatre productions. Therefore, it was clearly an excellent choice as the venue to host Hamilton.

 

“Look Around, Look Around, Look How Lucky We Are to Be Alive Right Now”

 

To say we were excited about the arrival of the smash-hit musical, Hamilton, to Edinburgh would be an understatement. Of course, we’ve listened to the soundtrack over and over and watched the original cast production on Disney+, but we knew there would be nothing that could compare to seeing it live on stage….and boy we were right! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

It was the evening of March 4th, and we eagerly made our way by bus into the city centre. As we walked into Festival Theatre, the anticipation of the crowd was positively palpable.




As we waited for the show to start, we walked around a bit, taking pictures and getting a magnet souvenir.



The theatre doors eventually opened, and we were finally able to take in its magnificence. Elegant is the perfect word to describe the interior of Festival Theatre. The photos don’t do justice to what you see in person. Our excitement was heightened as soon as we saw the Hamilton set on stage. We walked around a bit before the show and even saw the orchestra pit.



I obviously couldn’t take photos during the performance, but I think it’s safe to say that the entire audience was captivated as soon as the opening music to ‘Alexander Hamilton’ started. The whole cast was fantastic- Jonathan Hermosa-Lopez was an excellent Alexander Hamilton and Sam Oladeinde as Aaron Burr was a particular standout with his clear, powerful vocals cutting through the theatre. Additionally, I was very impressed with Maya Britto’s performance as Eliza Hamilton (pictured below left). Her harmonies were positively impeccable.



And no, don’t change the subject

cuz you’re my favorite subject.

My sweet, submissive subject,

my loyal, royal subject,

forever and ever and ever and ever and ever…

 

Watching Hamilton in Scotland - a musical about the immigrant son of a Scotsman who championed independence and revolution and became one of the founding fathers of the United States of America- was especially interesting. Daniel Boys was hilarious and so on the nose with his cheeky portrayal of King George. Hamilton really is one of those shows that brings history to life in such a way that is fascinating and unforgettable.

 


Before we knew it, the show was over, and we had to say goodbye to Hamilton and the Festival Theatre. However, as I mentioned above, Festival Theatre hosts some amazing shows throughout the year. Therefore, if you plan on visiting Edinburgh, we highly recommend you check out their website to book a show so you can see this beautiful theatre in person (please note that when you go to their website you will see that they are part of ‘Capital Theatres’ which is Scotland’s largest independent theatre organisation).


And if you are looking for a nice place to have a quick lunch or a just a coffee, Festival Theatre also has a wee café that anyone can go to. It’s one of my favourite places to pop into when I need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and have a delicious sweet treat and cup of coffee.



"There's a million things I haven't done. Just you wait."

 

Festival Theatre is one of many venues that offers cultural opportunities here in Scotland’s capital. For example, we’ve previously written about our experiences seeing The Lion King at Edinburgh’s Playhouse as well as a fantastic Johnny Cash tribute concert at Usher Hall. However, there is much more to see and do in this vibrant capital city (and country) we call home. Therefore, be sure to subscribe to our blog so you can enjoy articles from Edinburgh and around Scotland as soon we publish them. Just remember, “Immigrants, We Get the Job Done!” 😉

 

Until next time- Explore and Discover!


"I may not live to see our glory. But I will gladly join the fight. And when our children tell our story, they'll tell the story of tonight." Alexander Hamilton




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