THE Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline could close in March unless Fife Council pays £1.7million over the next five years.

That's the warning from theatre bosses who have requested £150,000 a year for three years towards their core costs and up to £50,000 a year to ensure against losses from booking major West End shows.

They also want to take over the running of the Carnegie Hall. The Alhambra is boarded up at the moment and the box office is closed.

No-one from the theatre was available for comment but a report to go to the council's executive committee on Tuesday, when the proposals will be discussed, stated: "The Alhambra Theatre Trust (ATT) considers that without recurring annual funding from Fife Council to support the costs of the Alhambra Theatre, they face an uncertain future and may opt to close in March 2016."

Talks have taken place with the council and Fife Cultural Trust (FCT) about safeguarding both theatres' future by having them work together rather than competing.

Change would be gradual but the idea is that the Carnegie Hall would offer more community-based entertainment, with a particular focus on the large amateur dramatic societies, stage school, youth training and school programmes.

Linda Temple, the cultural partnerships and events strategy manager, explained: "The proposal focuses on transferring management of Carnegie Hall from FCT to ATT, to sustain operation of the Alhambra Theatre and provide underwriting of any losses for major West End touring productions.

"This assumes a total cash sum of £1.725m to be awarded to ATT over the next five years as direct funding for both venues."

The report says the request "cannot be met from existing budget resources" but an alternative has been put forward and several options will be discussed on Tuesday.

She also said: "The implications of not providing annual funding may result in closure of the Alhambra Theatre and the impact this would have on the Dunfermline Town Centre economy."

The Alhambra, headed by businessman and Dunfermline Delivers chairman Bill Fletcher, has been a huge success since re-opening in 2008 but it does not receive any annual public subsidy.

It did receive a one-off £150,000 from the council in 2014 but further funding is now needed.

A Biggar Economics study from 2013 showed the theatre generates £1.6m a year in gross value added for the economy of Fife, and that bars and restaurants would suffer in Dunfermline if it closed.

It was built as a theatre and cinema in 1922. Latterly a bingo hall, the Alhambra closed in 2006 but was bought by Linklever Ltd, Mr Fletcher’s company, and re-opened two years later as a theatre and live music venue.

Renovation work continues but the venue has gone from strength to strength, attracting top names such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Morrissey and Kevin Bridges, and shows such as Blood Brothers and The Mousetrap.

The Carnegie Hall, named after one of Dunfermline’s most famous sons Andrew Carnegie, opened in 1937.

Comedian Billy Connolly recorded his Atlantic Bridge album at both Carnegie Halls in Dunfermline and New York in 1976 and it has been the main venue in the town with top acts in music, drama, comedy and pantomime.