Fife theatres wait on clarity over social distancing as re-opening remains in limbo

Hopes of a return to Fife theatres to see live shows remain in the balance.

By Allan Crow
Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 12:30 pm
Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society -  one of the many local groups keen to get back on stage at the Adam Smith (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society - one of the many local groups keen to get back on stage at the Adam Smith (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

The doors to the region’s venues have remained closed since the pandemic hit in March 2020 - and there remains uncertainty over the autumn programme going ahead.

The latest update from OnFife - which runs four theatres across the region - said social distancing rules made it impossible to operate.

And it still waited on clarity from the Scottish Government. on the road ahead.

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Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: David Wardle)

Fife has moved into Level-1 restrictions, but theatres remain subject to social distancing measures which make it unviable to stage live shows.

In an update to local groups, Verdi Clark, programme manager, said the return date for live performances remained difficult to predict.

She wrote: “At the moment, we would have to operate a 2.4m socially distanced performance, which is making any future programme planning very difficult.

“Until we have new information, we still can't have clarity about our autumn season and what it may look like.”

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She said OnFife was “still awaiting updates and clear Government guidance on the way forward for theatres and social distancing. “

The creative sector has been calling for such clarity for some time ass it fights to keep its venue operating with no income from shows or events since March 2020.

Major festivals have been cancelled, and all touring shows put on hold, leaving theatres dark.

In Fife the doors to the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy, Rothes Halls in Glenrothes, Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, and Lochgelly Theatre have all remained closed for some 15 months.

OnFife has staged a number of online events and worked hard to build virtual audiences, but a key driver of revenue comes via ticket sales at the box office.

The arms length trust is currently moving ahead with the refurbishment of the Adam Smith Smith.

The £3m transformation will turn the Lang Toun’s long-standing theatre into a major creative, cultural hub.

Stage one saw the complete renovation of the main auditorium, and the trust plans to invite stakeholders to step inside and see the work for themselves.

The theatre is due to open for its panto before closing again until 2023.

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