Located in a Neo-Gothic former church, just to the south of George IV Bridge, is the Bedlam Theatre. The home of Edinburgh University Theatre Company, the Bedlam is Britain's only student-run theatre and is well known as one of Edinburgh's premiere small venues. Today the theatre company stages some fifty shows each year and is a popular venue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which attracts theatre companies from all over the world who put on up to eight performance per day here.
Erected in 1846 as the New North Free Church by architect Thomas Hamilton (1784 - 1858), the church closed in 1941 and the congregation moved to the nearby Greyfriars Kirk. The building was bought by the University of Edinburgh and adapted for use as their Chaplaincy Centre. During the 1970s it became a Fringe venue but plans for conversion into a theatre were, at first, thwarted due to a lack of funds. The student Theatre Company was then given the premises, initially on a temporary basis. In 1979 the conversion to a proper theatre was eventually carried out and the Bedlam Theatre, named after the city mental asylum which once stood close by, was officially opened on 31st January 1980.
The Edinburgh University Theatre Company can trace its origins back to 1896. Today it has a sizeable membership and has earned a reputation for innovation and the encouragement of new writing, as well as offering the youth of Edinburgh the chance to gain experience in all areas of theatre production.