Sell-out shows blaze trail for new season of success

4th October 2023

Two sell-out shows that marked completion of a much-loved venue’s transformation are just the beginning of a bright new era, culture leaders say.

More than 1200 people were at Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre for the Lights On Grand Opening last Saturday and feedback suggests they will quickly return.

A rousing mix of music, drama and dance drew rave reviews from audiences keen to celebrate as the new-look venue reopened after a three-year absence.

Heather Stuart, Chief Executive of cultural charity OnFife, which operates the venue on behalf of Fife Council, said Saturday had been a day to savour: “So many people who hold this theatre close to their hearts were eagerly anticipating its return and those expectations were surpassed.

“Customer feedback about the show, the atmosphere, the sense of occasion – indeed the whole transformation that has taken place – has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Audiences and performers have been quick to tell us how good it was to have been a part of it – and people are thrilled that Saturday was just the beginning.”

For most of Saturday’s audience, it was a first look at the venue since completion of a three-year project to turn what was a traditional civic theatre into a modern creative hub, a major capital investment by Fife Council in the building and town centre.

“For everyone who has put their heart and soul into this project over the past three years, Saturday was a massive milestone,” says Venue Manager Ayesha Nickson.

“Seeing more than 1200 people come through the doors was an emotional and exhilarating experience – after so long out of the spotlight this magnificent theatre is back with a resounding bang.”

OnFife’s Community Events and Programme Manager, Karen Taylor, said: “We’re delighted to bring the buzz of live performance back to this special venue.

“Lights On, and the reception it received, has given us a really strong platform on which to build. We’re confident that those who liked what they saw will have good reason to return this autumn for the new programme and for the return of panto in December.

"However, as we showed with Lights On, our community will always be at the heart of the Adam Smith and we will continue to support those organisations who nurture the talent of Fifers and bring performances to our stage.”

Around 250 performers from ten local groups took to the stage for two shows compered by radio DJ, actor and TV presenter Grant Stott.

The groups taking part were Auld Kirk Players, Dysart Colliery Silver Band Ensemble, East Fife Ladies Choir, Fife Opera, Kingdom Theatre Company, Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society, Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Kirkcaldy Youth Music Theatre, Stages Dance School and The Songburds.

Cllr Linda Erskine, Fife Council’s spokesperson for Communities and Leisure Services, said: “It was a pleasure to witness this historical theatre reopen its doors with such a fitting celebration showcasing the diversity of the groups who use the Adam Smith as a venue.

“The amazing talent on display and the opportunities for others to join, from the Gilbert & Sullivan Society to Stages Dance School, is so impressive.

“The investment in this transformation, which has been a mix of restoration and creating new and exciting creative spaces, means it’s once again a proper cultural heart for Kirkcaldy’s town centre.”

The theatre was opened on 11 October 1899 by the Dunfermline-born industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, to honour the hugely influential economist and philosopher Adam Smith. It was funded by a bequest of £50,000 left by Provost Michael Beveridge.

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