KAOS: a Kirkcaldy institution set for long-awaited return to Adam Smith Theatre

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Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS) has been in my family for generations.

Referred to as ‘The Show’ my Nana, Evelyn Young went with her mum, Bet Dewar, from the late 1960s until Granny Betsy couldn’t manage.

My mum and Nana started going in 1978 a year after she married my dad and for the next 20 years, they got their glad rags and big coats on and went down to the Adam Smith Theatre every November.

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The tickets for the Saturday night were bought for my mum as a Christmas present every year, via a friend in KAOS such was the demand for tickets by local folk.

Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS) outside the Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: Submitted)Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS) outside the Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: Submitted)
Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS) outside the Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: Submitted)

It’s fitting I’m meeting Andrew Lowrie, one of the directors of KAOS in their self-described “ancestral theatre home,” at the Adam Smith for a chat.

Andrew, a past president of KAOS, re-joined the group after returning to Kirkcaldy after 23 years of running the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham. This sojourn included bringing the first live Strictly Come Dancing show to the small theatre in the Mbefore the phenomenon become a sell-out national tour.

Now retired from sales and marketing and back home in the Lang Toun, Andrew once again walked the boards as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family at the Lochgelly Centre in 2022 as well as taking on the company’s public relations. It seems once KAOS is in your bones it stays there.

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Founded in 1907, there’s a streak of bold creativity to KAOS, as well as the traditional musicals including Oklahoma, Fiddler On The Roof, Half A Sixpence and 42nd Street in recent years they have embraced Cabaret and Big Fish.

On stage - Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)On stage - Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
On stage - Kirkcaldy Amateur Operatic Society (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

The dedicated membership includes over one 100 members with around 50 on stage. The hard work involved for all is evident in the time they dedicate towards the production, spending a best part of the year in rehearsal, learning lines, wardrobe, nights, and weekends spent rehearsing and dancing before giving their all during performance week over a week.

If I wasn’t in awe of their intricate on-stage magic, I saw recently at the gala opening of the Adam Smith Theatre I am now. ‘KAOS Family’ the name of their Facebook group for members says it all. Sensing the meeting between creativity and community, it’s clear partnership working is important to KAOS. Andrew describes the fertile creativity in Fife and a desire for “collaboration and getting round the table.”

Asked how the Kirkcaldy community can help, Andrew enthusiastically declares the door is open: “We are very open to new members if someone is interested in production for example, get to know us better by buying tickets for the show and following the Facebook page,”.

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The next production, Made in Dagenham, is inspired by the true story and based on the 2010 film on the 1968 equal pay legislation that changed the world runs from November 14-18.It shows how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they stand together - much like KAOS who are planning another production for April as well as their traditional annual performance. Ticket details here.

And as for me, 116 years after KAOS’ inception it’s my turn to join the family ranks of going to ‘the show’ with Mum as my Granny Betsy and my Nana did before me. I can’t wait.

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