As our photograph shows, it is a ‘full house’ inside Eden Court’s main theatre this week. The Inverness venue’s Empire Theatre has been transformed into a hub for Highland Council’s emergency response to the pandemic situation across the region.
All the plush, blue velvet seats plus the stage itself – the second biggest theatrical stage in Scotland – are packed with tea bags, jars of coffee, tins of soup and vegetables and other food items. All will be assembled into food parcels and distributed to those in need.
In March, the curtain came down on the venue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A spokesman said: “We just turned our hand very quickly to support the Highland Council. I was in a meeting with the chief executive of the council and heard they needed to set up a helpline.
“In Easter, members of our engagement team helped in the key worker childcare hubs whilst teachers and school staff were on their holidays. Now our staff are supporting the delivery of the humanitarian aid centre here.”
The theatre and its 200-strong staff have now been nominated for a prestigious humanitarian award, The Achates Philanthropy Prize.
The Northern Meeting was supposed to have taken place at Eden Court this year on August 20-21 but was cancelled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the annual Northern Meeting competitions, the Empire Theatre is usually where premier events like the Clasp and the Former Winners’ MSR take place.