A couple of months ago, I joined a tour of Leith Theatre in Edinburgh.
Like the Kings in Kirkcaldy, it has fallen into disrepair, but has been rescued by people with a vision, and a passion, to transform it into a fantastic live venue.
The seats in the balcony are mis-matched, the plaster on the walls is peeling, there are no toilets, and, backstage, it still has areas cordoned off.
And yet, on Saturday night, I was back, this time as a paying customer watching it come alive once again.
It was utterly magical.
Edinbugh Festival – the posh one, not the Fringe – showcased Leith Theatre’s potential with a host of outstanding gigs, culminating with Club Cumming , the legendary parties curated by Hollywood A-lister Alan Cumming.
He DJed, danced around in a giant rabbit outfit, crowdsurfed, sang and brought on a host of live acts until someone tapped his shoulder at 3.00 am and insisted he put the house lights back up and chuck us out.
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The sound was perfect, the staging and lighting superb, and as 1000 fans belted out “Sunshine On Leith” I couldn’t help but think, if they can do this at Leith Theatre then why not the Kings?
Both are long-term, ambitious projects.
Both are about reversing decades of neglect – utterly wasted years which ought to be a source of shame to those who sat on their hands and did nothing – and bringing back into use fantastic, historic buildings.
And both hold the key to re-igniting the live music scene in the heart of their communities.
Forget regeneration– dull word, overused by too many in the corridors of power who don’t actually do anything to make things happen – this is transformational.
And that should excite us all.
READ MORE How the Kings campaign began
We all know the Kings is a multi-million project which may take years to deliver.
If you’d told the folk in Leith a decade ago that, come 2018, their beloved but forgotten theatre would host sold out gigs by King Creosote, Mogwai, and be part of the Edinburgh Festival, they’d have said you were daft.
But, it just did.
It still has a long way to go before it becomes a regular venue, but it may well be the place which re-ignites Edinburgh’s live music scene and brings thousands to the area.
We need to match Leith Theatre step for step, and turn the Kings’ dream into a reality.
More has been done at the old cinema over the last 18 months or so than in the previous 15 years.,
A labour of love is slowly peeling away the layers of neglect to reveal a building which just screams ‘‘use me!’’
The Alhambra’s revival was down to people with vision and has hosted some incredible gigs. If Dunfermline can host a 2000-seat theatre, why can’t Kirkcaldy?
Why can’t we be just as bold in our vision? Nowhere is it stated that Kirkcaldy should take second best – but it does. Turn the dial, get involved, get passionate, and maybe – just maybe – we’ll get our own Club Cumming night.