Kirkcaldy theatre granted off licence despite objections

The Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, hopes to host whisky and gin festivals.
The Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, hopes to host whisky and gin festivals.

The Adam Smith Theatre has been granted an off licence – just a month after a much-heralded whisky festival had to be scrapped because a licence was not in place.

However, the bid for the licence was not without opposition at Monday’s meeting of the Licensing Board.

David Henderson, chairman of Kirkcaldy West Community Council, said he was left “questioning the logic” of the listed building wanting to sell alcohol from the premises.

Mr Henderson told councillors: “This notification made the community council scratch our heads.

“Why on earth would the Adam Smith Theatre, run by a cultural trust in a listed building, want to open an off licence?

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“We are asked to support this event, which can hardly be called culture, unless food and drink is now considered a cultural event.”

The Scotch Whisky Festival, organised by Spirits By Post, was due to be held at the Kirkcaldy theatre on September 15.

However, the plug was pulled only weeks before, with organiser James Mackay citing “logistical reasons” for the decision.

James Marshall, from Fife Cultural Trust, said that bringing in such events was a way for the trust to not “rely so heavily on the public purse”.

He said: “We’re looking for an off licence not to open a shop, but to attract more of these types of events – whisky and gin festivals – to the theatre.

“The trust is supported by the public purse and we’re looking at different ways to generate our own income through using our buildings.

“The whisky festival, specifically, tickets were going to be around £45 – that’s not going to be an event the general public will come to get drunk. Vendors who attend these things sell specialist bottles which cost around £200.”

Mr Marshall added: “We want to use these beautiful buildings for something more than just pantomimes.”

Food and drink festivals would run during quiet times as a way to bring in an income and was a way to “keep the public trust alive when budgets continue to tighten up”.

The festival was expected to have had people flocking to the venue. Commenting after the event was cancelled, Mr Mackay said: “We look forward to working again with the Adam Smith Theatre in the future.”

Joanne Tierney, operations manager for ONFife said: “We very much look forward to seeing the Scotch Whisky Festival for a wee dram in 2019.”