King's Theatre Dome – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

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King's Theatre Dome

This modern work of art was a refreshing addition to one of the oldest theatres in the city.  


Theatre-goers who attend any number of theatrical productions that take place at the King’s Theatre will be given a front-row seat to a public work of art. Located on the performance space’s 914 square foot dome is a painting that was commissioned by the theatre for its £9 million renovation project. Renowned Scottish-born artist, playwright, and theatre designer, John Byrne designed the painting entitled, “All the World’s a Stage.”

The piece’s title was taken from William Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It. The quote is from the opening monologue uttered by the character Jaques. Along with the text emblazoned on a red banner, there is a figure of a harlequin chasing after a red-headed female figure cloaked in stars in a never-ending circle, as well as the sun, moon, and faces of Comedy and Tragedy.

It is serendipitous that the artist, who happened to live close by, was attending a performance and noticed that the ceiling was in need of repair. It was not long after that he was asked by the theatre if he would design a piece that would unveil their 2013 restoration refurbishment. Byrne was assisted by Kevin Leary who spent over 30 days high up on a scaffold to complete the work of art. The mural was a breath of fresh air for the old theatre.  

Update as of May 2023: The location is closed indefinitely for renovations.

Know Before You Go

Access to the King's is reserved for ticket holders. Check website for performances and times.

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June 7, 2022

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