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The Forest Cafe


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The Forest is a volunteer-run, collectively-owned, free arts and events project. We are also a registered charity, #SC038234 to be exact. We run a vegetarian café and a dedicated basement space for people to get involved in any creative activity imaginable. Our events have included music, theatre, dancing, yoga, massage, poetry recitals, art displays, knit-ins, book tours, language teaching, monsterbike making…and plenty more. We’re always on the lookout for new events and ideas, even when they take us to space.

The Forest has come a long way since its birth in 2000 in a tiny month-by-month let in Westport. For 8 years we ran in a beautiful old church at the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, where we ran a multi award-winning Fringe venue, an acclaimed publishing house, a record label, and a hundred other wonders. Now we’re located at 141 Lauriston Place, in Tollcross.

What Makes The Forest Special?

Forest is not sponsored by the government, city council or the arts council, and we do not exist for profit. We have been running a successful alternative business for years, thanks to the commitment of our large and enthusiastic team of volunteers. We are funded mostly by our vegetarian café, and to a lesser extent by the rental of facilities and the sale of books and records from Forest Projects. In keeping with our ethos that art should be accessible, all our events and workshops are free.

Aims Of The Forest

To enable greater access to all forms of the performing arts

To provide opportunities to learn and develop skills

To increase access to art

To facilitate the development of artists’ work and skills

To build co-operation and cultural understanding