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Planning consent given for new Dunfermline arts hub

the site of the new theatre school
the site of the new theatre school

An empty Dunfermline building is to be transformed into an arts hub.

The Alhambra Theatre Trust’s planning application to change a former ironmongery on Dunfermline’s New Row into a theatre stage school has been approved by Fife Council.

The plans include a break out area and an extension to the historic building which lies in the town’s conservation area.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We are very excited to move forward with our plans.”

It was nearly two years ago that the trust, which has ambitions to expand the role of the theatre in the community, unveiled its ambitious proposals for The Ironmongers Studio, which sits directly opposite the Alhambra Theatre itself.

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The plans centre on its acquisition of the empty Watt & Dewar’s Ironmongers building.

But as it started out in life as the Dunfermline Carnegie Music Institute, it will come full circle when it reopens as a cultural hub.

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.

It would become home to the Alhambra Theatre Stage School as well as provide a 200-seat studio theatre and other more contemporary and flexible space, as opposed to the more traditional offering at the Alhambra or Carnegie Hall.

The stage school has grown from its initial two-week summer school into now offering classes for hundreds of youngsters and adults every week.

It is hoped a theatre school in a dedicated base could help stem the exodus of young talent to the big cities. The intention is for the studio to act as a home in Fife for young writers, performers and dance groups.

It would host innovative and niche performances, create and develop new work and offer a rehearsal space.

The trust said its ambition is 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.

It is anticipated that with a full programme of events, the studio could attract around 25,000 visitors a year.

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