Theatre enjoys some TLC in a major refit

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THE £2.3m upgrade of the Lochgelly Centre is “progressing well”, according to theatre bosses.

The upgrade work will see the centre extended to create a bright, modern and very attractive space.

The centre will incorporate the local library and heritage services, and provide access to Fife Council information and advice services, in addition to the current theatre provision.

The facility is run by the Arts and Theatre Trust Fife (AttFife).

It closed in December 2009 and work started in January 2010.

Staff have been based in the local library where they have been providing information on the wide range of other cultural activity available in the area.

It is hoped that the upgrade will ensure the popular theatre’s future for at least 15 years.

Frank Chinn, chief executive of AttFife, said: “The Lochgelly Centre project is progressing well with the frame of the new library extension beginning to take shape.

“The new single storey extension will house a modern library and reception area.”

He added: “The existing building will also be refurbished to include a revised layout of the café, toilets and meeting facilities and replace the heating and ventilation systems for the theatre, sports hall and dance studio with energy efficient plant.

“It is hoped to have the facility operational by the end of the year.”

In 2009, Verdi Clark, theatre manager, said closing the centre was a very big and important decision for AttFife.

However, it was recognised that the Lochgelly Centre desperately needed a major refurbishment.

She added: “Since its opening in 1976 this building has worked tirelessly with and for the people of Lochgelly and beyond.

“But she is now in desperate need of some tender loving care of her own.

“During the closure it is going to be vital for us to maintain the strong links we have with all those who use the centre.

“It will be our intention to, where possible, continue to offer many of our creative learning opportunities in alternative venues throughout Lochgelly.

Peter Grant, leader of the Council’s administration, welcomed the investment and said he hoped it would help secure the future of and improve one of Fife’s flagship venues for many years to come.

He added: “Improving sport, leisure and cultural opportunities is one of our top priorities and this is a practical example of how we are meeting that aim.”