Arabella Weir launches Kirkcaldy’s 2018 Festival Of Ideas

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The ‘’house full’ signs were dusted off ready to be used long before tickets to see David Tennant at the Festival of Ideas went on sale on Saturday morning.

Such was the interest, every seat at the Adam Smith Theatre could have been sold several times over to see the actor on stage in Kirkcaldy.

The doors to the box office didn’t open until 10am but the queue started at 7.15 am – and there is every chance the gala screening of his new film, You, Me And Him, will generate a second full house just before he takes to the stage.

The two separate events form part of the 2018 festival which is being seen very much as the launchpad for future years.

Last year saw Ed Balls mix ‘Strictly’ style showbiz with economics as he delivered the Adam Smith Lecture, and the bill also included Arabella Weir, actor, author and now, artistic director of the 2018 event.

Her long-standing friendship with Tennant was key to getting him to come to the Lang Toun.

Their paths first crossed when they filmed the acclaimed drama Taking Over The Asylum for the BBC in 1994.

It was Tennant’s first major TV role, and they hit it off instantly.

“I was blown away by how brilliant he was,’’ Arabella recalled.’’We hit it off instantly.”

When Tennant headed south, he became her lodger, and the bonds of friendship saw him become godfather to to her children.

“At first he got ‘oh, you’re friends with Arabella Weir - now I get ‘oh, you’re friends with David Tennant’’ she joked. His role as Dr Who – the tenth doctor and one of the greatest too – coupled with huge TV hits such as Broadchurch and Casanova, plus his film and stage work, has taken his career to impressive heights.

He’ll be joined on stage in Kirkcaldy by Arabella, who will fire the questions to draw out more about the roles which have made him such a household name.

“David is hugely proud of Dr Who, but this will be about his life and career,” she said.

“Fame is a by-product of his talent, and he is a really, really talented actor.

“He’s already emailed me to say that the main thing for the Festival Of Ideas is that we are entertaining!”

The Q&A will be preceded by a gala screening of Tennant’s new film, You, Me & Him - and it too is expected to pull in a full house.

His appearance, together with that of Sandi Toksvig, sets the bar for future events.

The aim is to nurture the festival around the annual Adam Smith Lecture, and bring to town a broad range of big names interested in helping put it on the map.

Arabella is keen to see it expand to embrace the adjacent Kirkcaldy Galleries and even the war memorial gardens that sit between them.

Her dad hailed from Dunfermline, so there are Fife roots to draw her back, and she has been working in Glasgow recently to film Two Doors Down, which has just started its third series on BBC2.

“This part of Scotland means a lot to me, and to bring in people such as David and Sandi is fantastic.

“It’s a great start to developing this festival,” she said.

“We really want to build on this with the idea of helping a new festival rather than it becoming just another gig in another town.

“There’s a real purpose to what we are trying to achieve – a festival that has real benefits for the town and its culture.”