What Bill Fletcher, Paul Gudgin and their cast of many dedicated supporters have achieved with Dunfermline's Alhambra over the last year is truly amazing. When Paul (the former Festival Fringe Director in Edinburgh) and Bill (a local businessman) showed me round the old bingo hall in Canmore Street the roof was leaking, the decor was shoddy and the even the clock on the wall was going backwards.
Yet the architecture combined with the shear volume of the one hundred year old theatre shouted its potential. We are well endowed with stunning architecture in Dunfermine but what we have often lacked is the talent, passion and leadership to make those assets sing. Paul and Bill have all these attributes and more. I was sold on them as much as the stunning building.
Since then eighteen thousand people have flooded through the doors and we have seen some real quality acts including KT Tunstall, Ocean Colour Scene, Biffy Clyro (my twelve year old says they are big) and even Roy Chubby Brown (not quite my taste!). In 2009 they already have Jimmy Carr, The Enemy and a week long production of Les Miserables.
The last time I spoke from the Alhambra stage was at the Nazareth gig before 1400 rockers! Before a more sedate audience of 800 people last night I compared Paul and Bill to the lions at the original Alhambra in Spain which has a Court of Lions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court_of_the_Lions. I urged the audience to join the Court of Lions and become a Friend of the Alhambra as only with their support will the theatre continue to thrive. You can join by logging onto the website. http://www.alhambradunfermline.com/