Covered up: Rolf Harris painting removed from Fife theatre seven years ago this week

Seven years ago this week, Fife’s leading theatre found itself caught up in the Rolf Harris scandal.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 2:19 pm

The disgraced entertainer was jailed after being convicted on 12 charges of indecently assaulting four girls between 1968 and 1986.

And Harris’ downfall shone a spotlight on a mural which he’d painted in the wings of the Adam Smith Theatre several decades earlier.

It was done while he played a week-long residency at the Kirkcaldy venue in 1985.

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Rolf Harris mural at the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy which was painted over seven years ago this week.

His artwork became the subject of intense discussions after his appalling history became public knowledge.

The cartoon drawing of a three-legged Harris sat on the wall of the staircase which led from the stage to the dressing-rooms.

It featured a caricature of the entertainer in a kilt with the caption "there's nowt that's shoddy about Kirk-coddy."

It was part of the backstage furniture for decades without comment until Harris was arrested and taken to court at the age of 84.

Front page of the Fife Free Press from July 2014 with exclusive report on painting over a cartoon done by disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris at the Adam Smith Theatre

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As theatres up and down the land started to remove any of his artworks, the spotlight fell on Fife Cultural Trust, which manages the Adam Smith, over where it stood on the thorny issue.

Harris was one of a stream of TV stars who appeared, often for week long residencies, throughout the 1980s and early 80s.

Their visits were often celebrated with a framed photo which was then hung on the long corridor leading to the auditorium.

Asked by the Fife Free Press for its views on Harris’ artwork - and whether it would remain - the trust held private discussions before confirming it would be removed.

In a statement, it said "We are in the process of decorating, refreshing and updating a number of areas in the theatre, and in light of recent developments and the sensitivity of having performers of all ages, we believe it appropriate to remove the caricature."

The story made the front page and sparked a healthy correspondence in the letters pages.

The theatre’s stance was replicated by venues across the UK which erased doodles and cartoons done by Harris on his regular travels around the UK to perform.

The former entertainer was also stripped of his CBE.

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