Lockdown delays hit £3m Adam Smith Theatre refurbishment plans

A £3m transformation of Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre has been hit by delays caused by the pandemic - and that has put pressure on contractors to deliver it in time for a major landmark event in 2023.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 7:11 pm

The venue is set to become a cultural hub at the heart of OnFife’s operations.

The work includes a complete refurbishment of the main auditorium, upgrades to the Beveridge Suite including new lighting and a sound system installed.

It also includes a revamp of the lower function suite, a new performance space on the ground floor, and better use of space throughout the long-established civic venue.

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Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: David Wardle)
Adam Smith Theatre (Pic: David Wardle)

Culture trust bosses planned to do the work in two phases, starting with the auditorium and then pausing to allow an autumn programme of local am-dram groups and the panto to take place before then closing completely throughout 2022, re-opening in time for the 300th anniversary of the birth of the town’s most famous son, Adam Smith.

That landmark is set to be the spark for a major festival, with the theatre playing a key role.

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But the pandemic has thrown up a host of challenges, and, this week, the cultural trust decided to scrap plans for an autumn re-opening to allow contractors to push on with work behind the scenes without any delay.

Michelle Sweeney, director of creative development, OnFife

Michelle Sweeney, director of creative development, said: “We will move directly from the phase one auditorium work into phase two which means that the Adam Smith Theatre will not reopen until June 2023.”She added: “This clearly has implications for those groups who are keen to progress events and shows in planning.”

Problems thrown up by lockdown include struggles getting supplies for the refurbishment work. New seating meant to be installed by November - allowing its limited use across panto season - won’t now arrive until January.

Added Michelle: “The procurement stage of the seating tender is proving more complex than we would have hoped, again due to Covid.

“Even if the theatre was ready, pausing for panto would now put into question the re-opening in time for the Adam Smith Tricentenary celebrations, which is not something we are prepared to risk.”

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