In 1958 three people with an interest in music and drama in Kirkcaldy decided to start a musical group for young people in the town.
It was called the Kirkcaldy Teenage Opera and was based in the YWCA in Kirkcaldy. Today it is Kirkcaldy Youth Music Theatre which is celebrating its 60th year in the town.
KYMT was – and still is– open to any young person of secondary school age without audition and it has staged a musical every year from 1959.
It became YWCA Light Opera Group and its first production was ‘The Rajah of Rajapore.’
The principles of the group are to be accessible to any young person (of secondary school age) interested in being part of a musical; no membership fees or charges for costume, lib or music, only a joining fee of £5 and minimal charge of £2 per session.
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The longevity of the group and its contribution to the community is well known and most of the town’s acclaimed musical societies have members who started out with KYMT.
Hundreds of young people have had the chance to hone their acting and musical talents in the group’s wide ranging productions, building their self confidence and developing skills that serve them in every walk of life.
Many of its former members have moved on to make a professional contribution to the arts, including: Sharon Small; Andrew Panton; Neil Laidlaw; Susie Dumbreck; Phil Haldane; Michael Howell; Gillian Budd
Currently the group stages its annual production in the Adam Smith Theatre.
Recently the young people have performed in Les Miserables and Miss Saigon as well as fun shows such as Eurobeat.
The quality of all aspects of the productions is reflected in the number of times it has won categories in the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) Scotland’s competition.
In 2014 it was presented with NODA’s National Youth Award – one of the top accolades of its kind.
The group is chaired by John Urquhart and directed by Monica Holland, both themselves members of the group as youngsters.
As well as its own shows KYMT also supports many other amateur groups in Fife as a source of scenery, props and costume hire.
John and his team have a workshop where they build sets for several Fife companies as well as groups in Edinburgh and Dundee.
He has a store of props and costumes which are also used by schools and drama groups.
Along with John and Monica, KYMT has many other volunteers who give their time freely to the huge benefit of young people in the town.
The group will kick off its birthday celebrations on Friday, October 27 with a day of events in Kirkcaldy’s St Bryce Kirk to which everyone, including any former members, is invited.
In the morning there will be a fundraising coffee morning and in the evening there will be a celebration concert and sing-along with some of the former members taking part alongside the current group.