THE Alhambra Theatre Trust have submitted a planning application for a new performing arts centre in Dunfermline.

It would have a state-of-the-art 200-seat studio theatre, art house cinema and a purpose-built headquarters for the Alhambra Stage and Dance School.

They want to convert the vacant premises at 62 New Row into The Ironmongers Studio, and the plans include suites of rehearsal rooms, an administration block and retail/restaurant space.

School principal Gavin Dickson said: “I am delighted at the prospect of having a permanent base for the Alhambra Stage and Dance School.

"The facilities will enable us to expand our range of classes and also offer full-time courses, utilising our team of 14 tutors in the performing arts.

"The studios will provide us with unrivalled, dedicated dance, drama and voice facilities in Fife and, with the location, we are also able to give students access to the studio and main stage at the Alhambra for training and incredible performance opportunities.”

The New Row building, across the road from the Alhambra Theatre, housed the Dunfermline Carnegie Music Institute until 1936. It became the printworks for the Dunfermline Press and then the site for Watt & Dewar, the ironmongers, which has been closed for more than a decade.

If the plans are approved by Fife Council, the aim is to "create a versatile, striking and unique venue, which can be an attraction in its own right".

The performance space in The Ironmongers Studio will offer an alternative to the existing space on offer in the Alhambra Theatre or Carnegie Hall and will act as a permanent HQ for the stage and dance school.

The school has grown from an initial two-week summer school experience and now provides classes in dance, singing, drama and acting to children and adults.

It also has a community rock choir and 350 students attending classes on a weekly basis.

The trust said that having a permanent base would allow the school to move into areas like dramatherapy and offer BTEC qualifications, while helping to halt the exodus of talented youngsters to similar centres in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The studio's outdoor spaces are intended to be used for performances and could host summer film screenings.

A smaller performance area, with flexible staging and up to 200 seats, will provide opportunities for the stage and dance school as well as local groups to produce and perform work, with "an emphasis on pushing boundaries".

The new centre could also act as a home for innovative young writers and performance and dance groups.

A statement said: "The Alhambra Theatre Trust’s long-held ambitions to create a 21st century version of a traditional repertory company, similar to that which creates and presents new and innovative work at Dundee’s Rep, could be realised within The Ironmonger’s Studio.

"The repertory theatre’s work, alongside developing new work, could also be the base for an annual summer series similar to that presented so successfully by Pitlochry Festival Theatre, an annual event with significant tourist appeal."

Dunfermline Central SNP councillor Jean Hall-Muir said: “The vision for The Ironmongers Studio is yet another example of ambitious planning that is going on throughout Dunfermline's creative community and dovetails wonderfully with the larger tourism and Heritage Quarter developments.

"Building on 10 years of growth of the theatre programme and five years of the stage and dance school, it is the next logical step for the Alhambra's development, and a most welcome resource for our local children."