Revealed: £3m revamp to turn Fife theatre into vibrant creative hub

The Adam Smith Theatre is set for a huge revamp.
The Adam Smith Theatre is set for a huge revamp.

Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre is set to undergo the biggest transformation in its history, the Press can reveal.

The £3m project will change every aspect of the historic building to turn it into a creative hub that sits at the heart of the town centre – and give Fife’s thriving creative sector the base it needs to keep the talent in the heart of the region.

From the front door through to the back of the building will be re-designed to introduce new performance, work and creative spaces that will change it from a traditional civic theatre to a modern multi-purpose facility.

The main theatre will be given a complete makeover, and new smaller performance areas created downstairs - with the lower function hall and the Beveridge Suite both totally transformed.

The work is being led by Fife Council and Fife Cultural Trust, which manages theatres, galleries and museums across the region.

It follows on from its award-winning transformation of Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries which opened in May 2017.

Staff have been briefed on the exciting new plans.

And, starting this week, OnFife’s senior team will meet with the groups which use the theatre to go over the blueprints, and get their feedback.

It is hoped work will start in April 2021.

OnFife sees its ambitious vision as part of the bigger picture to breathe new life across Kirkcaldy town centre.

Eighteen months in the planning, it could become the town’s equivalent of the DCA in Dundee – a modern, vibrant hub for the creative industries which is also at the heart of, and open to the whole community.

Kirsty Keay, director of creative and commercial development, said: “We want to protect frontline services and staff, and also be adventurous enough to inspire and support the creative industries.

“Fife has a fantastic creative sector, but the region doesn’t have one dominant town or major city so where is its home?

“We are seeing some people drift to Edinburgh, where there are a lot of creative facilities where they can work together, and we are seeing more drift up to Dundee. We want to halt that drain of talent from Fife, and give them that base.”

With its central location, excellent public transport links, and close proximity to the Kirkcaldy Galleries, the Adam Smith is seen as a natural fit.

The blueprint aims to transform every aspect of the building to create new meeting spaces, performance areas, and cool spaces where people can switch from working at home to using the facilities on offer.

The aspiration is that they then go full circle and perhaps contribute their skills and ideas to workshops so others can follow in their footsteps.

The downstairs hall – which currently has limited use – will be soundproofed and completely transformed to create a proper drama space, complete with lighting rig and dressing rooms, and the empty space in the existing foyer will become a hub of different activities.

It will also host a new 60-seat theatre space which could host events such as open mic nights or a comedy club as well as being available to local businesses for general hire.

Upstairs, the vision for the Beveridge Suite is to become the new home to OnFife’s team, currently based in Iona House, along with additional workspace and a smaller cafe to complement the facilities on the ground floor.

The main auditorium will be given a complete overhaul with new seats and sound system.

“We want the building to have as much flexible space as possible,” added Kirsty.

“The transformation of the downstairs function hall is a key part of the project – it creates a whole new space which can be used – and part of the presentations to local organisations which currently use the venue is to get their feedback, because nothing is set in stone.

“We want to know what they love about the theatre, and also what they don’t love about it.

“Our aim has always been how to complement what already goes on at the theatre.

“But we are ready to take the next step and create the right environment for the creatives in Fife, and local businesses.”

Cllr. Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy area committee, said: “The plans for the Adam Smith are really exciting and I can’t wait to see them in reality.

“This is a great boost for the town and will help to contribute to the regeneration of the town centre.

“Fife has a wealth of creative talent and it is important that we nurture that talent and help it grow.

“Having a state of the art facility will help us keep that talent in Fife and attract more from across Scotland so that the whole Kingdom can benefit.”