Tapping into magic of the movies at Adam Smith Theatre

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

With a brand new year comes a brand new programme of films set to be screened at the Adam Smith Theatre over the coming months.

And the cinema screenings begin this weekend.

As ever with the theatre’s films there’s a great mix of different genres and styles of films for everyone to enjoy.

The Bennochy Road theatre first screened its first ever film back in 1913.

A more up to date facility for cinema screenings was then available following the refurbishment in the early 1970s.

With no other cinema facilities currently available in Kirkcaldy following the closure of the last one in the 1990s, in recent years the number of films being screened by the theatre has been on the up - as have the number of people attending the shows.

And for the last two years the Lang Toun has enjoyed its own successful film festival - with the third event set to take place later this year.

Evan Henderson, programme manager at the theatre, said: “We definitely have increased attendances over the last few years, particularly when we have films like ‘Brave’ that we can show on release.

“There have been special screening events like silent films with live accompaniment, and of course Kirkcaldy Film Festival has raised the profile for independent and quality film screenings.”

In recent years the theatre has benefited from the move to a digital projector, improving the quality of the image on screen.

Evan continued: “It has given us wider access to older films and to current films where previously only a few 35mm prints existed and you had to get in line for a print!

“The next stage in terms of digital is to have the films delivered via satellite or internet rather than a digital hard drive.”

Evan is one of those at the theatre responsible for choosing those movies that Fifers will be able to enjoy at the arts venue - and it’s a big decision to make.

He explained: “I assess every film being released from the trailer, reviews and by attending film festivals and industry screenings. I am scared of missing out on something!

“We occassionally show films on release like the multiplexes but we have a multi-use space with other genres like drama, music and comedy being programmed too.

“My criteria for booking films are based on quality, public interest, top end children’s films and a selection of the best independent/international cinema on release, plus an occasional documentary.

“Our job is to persuade people to see films on the big screen in a cinema as this is the best environment to enjoy the full experience.”

Some of the films being screened in the next few months that are likely to prove popular include those for the kids like ‘The Penguins of Madagascar’, ‘Paddington’ and ‘Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast’.

Others include the thriller ‘Gone Girl’ and the hugely popular finale in The Hobbit trilogy - ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’. There will also be a chance for Fifers to see ‘The Book of Life’, ‘The Imitation Game’ and the Stephen Hawking biopic ‘The Theory of Everything’.

Once again there will also be the chance for people to enjoy live theatre broadcast live by satellite, with several National Theatre Live productions planned, including ‘Treasure Island’.

In the past the theatre has also beamed in productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bolshoi.

Evan told the Press: “I have cut back this season to only doing NT Live but this may change in future, it actually depends on what content is being offered.

“What is absolutely appealing is being part of a live show - albeit one step removed - happening in one of the top theatre’s in the world, without the expense and inconvenience of having to get to London’s South Bank.

“The quality and camera work is really good and quickly you forget about the screen.

“It is an experience different to TV but hard to actually define.

“The encouraging element for me is that audiences in Fife are desperate to experience high quality and sometimes ‘difficult’ texts.”

So from this season’s films are there any that stand out for Evan as highlights?

“I saw ‘Birdman’ just before Christmas and it is really great but not in the way you’d expect from the trailer!” he said.

“‘Get On Up’, the James Brown biopic seems to have been overlooked a bit by cinema goers - however I’d urge people to see it as the performance by the lead Chadwick Boseman is fantastic.

“One I haven’t seen yet is ‘Paddington’ but by all accounts it works on many levels and doesn’t disappoint adults and kids alike.

“I’m really pleased with this programme as it feels really strong in terms of quality (and awards!) and has something for everyone.

“However I’d urge readers to take a chance on something in the programme that they might not normally go to see as there really isn’t a bad movie among them this season which is a testament to a strong end to 2014 in terms of films released.”