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Arts hub will breathe new life into historic Dunfermline building

The Alhambra Theatre Trust's vision of its new hub
The Alhambra Theatre Trust's vision of its new hub

A major cultural hub is being planned for an iconic empty building in the heart of Dunfermline.

The Alhambra Theatre Trust has submitted plans for a new performing arts centre, including a state of the art 200-seat studio theatre, arthouse cinema, purpose-built HQ for the Alhambra Stage and Dance School, rehearsal rooms and shop and restaurant space.

The plans centre on 62 New Row which has lain empty for years.

It was latterly Watt & Dewar’s Ironmongers but started life as the Dunfermline Carnegie Music Institute.

The design will be influenced by the world famous Wilton’s Music Hall in London, with promises the arts space will be carefully woven into the building, retaining its century-long historical significance to the town.

The Ironmongers Studio aims to complement the existing space on offer in the Alhambra Theatre or Carnegie Hall.

It aims to use the outdoor spaces surrounding it for performances, and perhaps to host summer outdoor film screenings.

A smaller performance space will provide opportunities for local groups to produce and perform a wide variety of works, with the emphasis on pushing boundaries.

Overall its intention is to act as a home in Fife for innovative young writers,  performers and dance groups.

The trust said its ambition was to create a 21st century version of a traditional repertory company, similar to Dundee’s Rep.

The repertory theatre’s work could be the base for an annual summer series similar to that presented by Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

Since its inception the stage school has grown into one of Fife’s biggest and most innovative.

It grew from the initial two week summer school, but has now expanded to include classes for children and adults and community rock choir.

Some 350 students attend classes every week.

This base would see it move forward with ambitious plans to move into dramatherapy and offering BTEC qualifications.

It’s felt the current exodus of talented youngsters to Edinburgh and Glasgow could be halted by offering qualification is Fife.

School principal Gavin Dickson said: “I am delighted at the prospect of having a permanent base for the school.”

He added the facilities will enable the expansion of classes and chance to offer full-time courses, using a 14-strong team of tutors.

“The studios will provide us with unrivalled, dedicated dance and drama and voice facilities in Fife.”

Councillor Jean Hall-Muir added: “The vision for the Ironmonger Studio is yet just another example of ambition planning that is going on throughout Dunfermline’s creative community and dovetails wonderfully with the larger tourism and heritage quarter developments. “

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