A £2.8 million project to redevelop one of Scotland’s oldest cinemas moved a step closer this week after securing a £300,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The A listed Picture House in Campbeltown was built in 1913 and sits on the seafront in the heart of the Argyll town. It is owned by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd (CCB), a social enterprise committed to transforming the cinema into the principal cultural and entertainment venue for Kintyre.
CCB will do this by offering a programme of film, event cinema and occasional live music and theatre performances that will appeal to residents and visitors alike. The project will retain the charm and history of the building and combine this with modern and comfortable facilities.
The HIE investment brings the total confirmed funding to just over £2.7million, with decisions on the additional £100,000 required, due in March and April.
Redevelopment of the cinema links directly to HIE’s ‘Ambitious for Culture’ policy which recognises the value and the part that assets like The Picture House play in making the region a more attractive place to live, work, study and invest.
Confirming the investment, HIE director of strengthening communities, Rachael McCormack, said: “The Highlands and Islands has a strong track record of communities managing key assets in a way that creates social and economic benefits. This makes a huge contribution to a successful competitive region. CCB has done a fantastic job driving forward their ambitious and innovative plans for The Picture House. The directors have partnered with industry specialists to develop the project and secure over £2.7m investment to date. This is a great example of a community initiative that will bring about real positive change in the area and that’s why we see it as something well worthy of investment.”
Jane Mayo, chair of CCB, welcomed the announcement. She said: “This investment brings us so close to achieving the total needed for The Centenary Project. The community has supported this cinema for over a century and is looking forward to having its precious building restored and enhanced to give it a bright, sustainable future as a cultural hub for Kintyre. We are looking forward to offering a programme that will appeal to the local community and visitors to the area. CCB is extremely grateful for the important ongoing support of HIE and we are working to secure the remainder of the funding to enable work to start on this fabulous project.”
The redevelopment will see the main auditorium and unique art nouveau frontage restored, the unused annexe will be linked to the main building to create a new entrance foyer, box office, kiosk/café and toilets and to the rear of the cinema a second smaller auditorium will be created. The second auditorium will provide freedom to programme in response to audience trends and demand.