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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Former theatre to open its doors
Alhambra Theatre
Seats were removed to make way for a bingo hall
A theatre which played host to some of the famous Scottish acts of the last century is set to reopen after spending more then 40 years as a bingo hall.

The Alhambra Theatre, B-listed for the quality of its interior, opened in Dunfermline in 1922.

Entertainers Jimmy Logan, the Alexander Brothers, Andy Stewart, the White Heather Group and The Bachelors all graced its boards at one time.

By 1965, however, the last thespian had left to make way for a bingo hall.

Now it is set to undergo a major refurbishment project, which could see it reopen as a 1,000-seat theatre by the end of next year.

The Alhambra is a magnificent theatre and a landmark building that now has a valuable opportunity to be restored to its former glory
Mhora Samuel
Theatres Trust

The work is being co-ordinated by Paul Gudgin, the former director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mr Gudgin, now a visiting professor at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: "It will have massive economic benefits. New venues like this can generate several million pounds for the local economy."

Mr Gudgin said that he had known about the building's potential for several years while it was still a bingo hall, before it was closed in 2006.

He said: "I was alerted to it by a friend way back when it was a bingo hall and I came in and immediately realised what a fantastic venue it was.

"I walked past it on the way to the station for several years so it was always in my thoughts.

"I put the word out that I was interested in working on it, and when it became available I got involved.

"The person that bought the venue got in touch and said they wanted to turn it back into a theatre and could I help them."

Alhambra Theatre
The Alhambra Theatre first opened in 1922

"We're getting the final specifications for the building and costs at the moment, so we can't quite say how much it is going to cost to complete the renovation at the moment."

Mhora Samuel, director of the Theatres Trust, said the restoration was a "valuable opportunity".

She said: "The Alhambra is a magnificent theatre and a landmark building that now has a valuable opportunity to be restored to its former glory.

"In addition to saving an important piece of heritage, we have seen on numerous occasions how restoring a theatre like the Alhambra can bring significant economic and cultural benefit to a region."

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Willie Rennie said: "It's an important building that could become an outstanding community resource and a major attraction for the region."


SEE ALSO
Scottish entertainer Logan dies
13 Apr 01 |  Entertainment

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