Final farewell to a stalwart of the Fife musical theatre scene

Monica will probably be best known locally for her love of drama.
Monica will probably be best known locally for her love of drama.

A Kirkcaldy woman who brought the joy of drama and music to hundreds of children and adults in the town and across Fife has died.

Monica Holland, who was a stalwart of the Kirkcaldy musical theatre scene and a lifetime member of Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS), has passed away at the age of 59.

The retired drama and special needs education teacher was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January last year. Monica passed away peacefully at her home in the town on January 2.

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Born in Kirkcaldy, Monica was the youngest of six children to parents Teresa and William Holland. She attended St Marie’s Primary School and then St Andrews RC High School before going to Queen Margaret College where she studied for a degree in drama. She then continued her studies at Moray House to become a drama teacher.

After graduating Monica became a visiting drama teacher at Rosslyn School, Kirkcaldy, which caters for pupils with complex additional support needs.

She later became a full-time teacher at Rosslyn, retiring in December 2017.

Outside the classroom, Monica was involved with various groups and organisations. In her early 30s she began embarking on trips to Romania in the summer holidays which she did for several years, volunteering at a summer school for disadvantaged children.

For two years during her October holiday break, she also worked with homeless people in Bucharest.

Monica also worked with Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT) to take severely handicapped children in Fife to Lourdes.

But she will probably be best known locally for her love of drama and the special bond she created with young people who have gone on to pursue careers in the dramatic arts.

This began at an early age when she started at the Junior Drama Group in the YWCA before progressing to Kirkcaldy Light Opera Group, eventually becoming director. This later became Kirkcaldy Youth Music Theatre.

She joined KAOS in 1984 and later became vice president. She had memorable roles as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Viv Nicolson in Spend Spend Spend, Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast and Svetlana in Chess.

She also set up Kids on Stage, a summer drama school which has run for 24 years at the Adam Smith Theatre.

As a member of Kirkcaldy Amateur Dramatic Society Monica was involved in acting and directing.

She is survived by her five siblings, nephews, nieces, great nephews and great nieces. Her funeral will be held on Monday at St Marie’s Church at 10am and thereafter at Hayfield Cemetery.