Welcome to the Kings Live Lounge
at the Kings Theatre Kirkcaldy
Thank you for your interest today from all the staff, volunteers and trustees who have made the whole venture possible. It was quite a challenge to host entertainment here after a long and cherished history.
For so many it will be a return to what was the YWCA on the Esplanade. Our adjacent building at the Kings Theatre on the High Street will evoke even more memories for many.
We chose to preserve the original name of the Kings Theatre Kirkcaldy as it was in November 1904 and designed locally by John D Swanson and William Williamson.
Touring companies quickly found us on the circuit and in 1905 a young Charlie Chaplin played here as Billy in the touring production of Sherlock Holmes. It was not a financial success and by 1908 was renamed the Hippodrome by the new owners. This lasted till 1917 when as the Opera House it opened as a cinema for the first time.
They were the first provincial cinema in Scotland to install sound equipment in May 1929 opening with Al Jolson in The Singing Fool.
It became the Regal in 1937 with new art deco features designed by Charles J McNair including the ticket booth which remains intact today. Stained glass windows were plastered over as well as the decorative painting and plasterwork to achieve the new modern look. The Italian marble grant staircase was carpeted too to give a luxury feel to the entrance. Becoming the ABC in 1963 then a triple cinema in 1977, it was renamed the Cannon then the MGM then back to the ABC and owned by Odeon Cinemas who closed it down in November 2000 to facilitate their new complex in Dunfermline.
As the volunteer trustees became involved in 2015 extensive work was essential as the building had fallen into disrepair with storm damage, water leaks and pigeon infestations. Architects Page & Park were engaged, and funding streams explored to advance plans to reopen as a venue once more.
The Kings project won a Kingdom FM Local Hero Award in 2019 and meanwhile at 9 Esplanade restoration work continued and the Live Lounge was opened only for Covid-19 to interrupt the best laid plans just four months later.
With no pantomime in town for 2021 the trustees engaged in a £100,000 project to bring the
best talent on board with the production which became a hot ticket. To bring back Billy Mack to Kirkcaldy as Panto Dame made front page news.
We have ambitious plans to open the first floor at 9 Esplanade as a creative arts and culture space and we acknowledge funding from Fife Council, Theatres Trust and Historic Environment Scotland among others.
Room One is a flexible space for hires, we have a lively bar, and the live room supports local music, cabaret and theatre. BBC & STV have been in to film as we now can boast a fabulous digital lighting system and 32 channel mixing desk to cater for all performing arts. As the pandemic closed our doors in December 2021 our plans continue for more diverse performances as we progress along
with catering both indoor and out.
The external fabric of the building is changing for the better too with roof repairs, asbestos removal, new lintels and new décor internally as we meet the new challenges ahead. The support from trustees, volunteers and elected members makes this all possible and without whom the project would crumble.
We hope you can join us regularly and visit our Facebook pages for updates and our website for all tickets at The Kings Live Lounge.
John Murray, Chairman