The History of Leith

February 6, 2012

The New Theatre in Edinburgh

Prior to the reign of George III. there was not a single theatre in Scotland countenanced by the law of the land. One which was erected in Glasgow in 1752, and on which a military guard mounted nightly, was demolished about two years after, by a mob when returning from one of Whitefield’s sermons,but when the New Town of Edinburgh was projected, a clause was introduced into the Act
empowering the Crown to grant royal letters patent for the establishment of a theatre in Edinburgh.
Mr. David Ross, manager of a small one then existing, amid many difficulties, in the Canongate, and latterly of Covent Garden Theatre — a respectable man, who had managed two houses in London—
obtained the patent, and the foundation stone of the new theatre was laid on the 16th of March, 1768.
In the stone was laid a silver plate, inscribed thus:—
” The first stone of this new theatre was laid on the l6th
day of March, in the year of our Lord 1768, by David Ross,
patentee and first proprietor of a licensed stage in Scotland.
May this theatre tend to promote every moral and every
virtuous principle, and may the representations be such
” To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
Live on each scene and be what they behold.”

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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