Funding boost for phase one of Kirkcaldy’s Kings Theatre project

KIngs Theatre, Kirkcaldy  (Pic: Fife Free Press)
KIngs Theatre, Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Councillors in Kirkcaldy have agreed to a £20,000 grant which will allow the first phase of the King’s Theatre project to start.

The funding, agreed at the Kirkcaldy area committee on Tuesday, will see a pop-up venue for up to 100 people to watch live entertainment such as music gigs and comedy shows.

It will also include a 50-seat cafe where visitors can enjoy refreshments before and after events and toilet facilities, all on the ground floor of the former YWCA on the Esplanade.

Robert Main, a member of the board of directors, explained that the project had been divided into four phases.

Phase two will see the upstairs of the YW refurbished to include recording studios, training facilities and a community hub and phase three will be the formal ballroom area done up.

The final phase would be the actual King’s Theatre part of the project which Mr Main described as “a major and complex piece of project work which will require significant funding.”

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He said it would be a number of years down the line before this could be expected and would require the help of experts in the field.

“At this point there is no access because of health and safety.

“When we get expert opinion we can look at the work involved to get it up and running, including funding.”

Cllr Richard Watt said that when councillors were given a tour of the premises in 2017 he was told that the opening would be around early 2018.

“What have been the complications and when can we expect to see the King’s Theatre open,” he asked.

Mr Main said the pop up venue would hope to be open by this summer.

“The hold-up was due to the planning process which this had to go through and because of the live music aspect there had to be acoustic monitoring which took more time.”

He said that the future phases, including the 2000-seat theatre auditorium, would require bigger funding applications such as the National Lottery, Heritage funding, the Theatres Trust and social enterprise funding.

“While that takes place it doesn’t mean we are not working on the other phases.”

Cllr Lesley Backhouse said the project would enable the theatre to attract bigger names to Kirkcaldy when it was complete.

“We can’t attract the big acts or musicians at the moment because we don’t have seating capacity at the Adam Smith Theatre,” she explained.

“That only has seating for 500 people and we want to get bigger bands like KT Tunstall and Simple Minds.

“At the moment people have to go to Edinburgh.

“A lot of people spend a lot of money on live music experiences and having a venue like this in Kirkcaldy would be a big sell to allow us to attract bigger names.”