Montrose Playhouse Project SCIO is Registered Scottish charitable Incorporated Organisation, staffed by a group of local volunteers whose ambitious plan is to renovate the former swimming pool situated on The Mall, Montrose into an Arts Centre & Three-screen Digital Cinema called The Playhouse for the benefit of Montrose and the surrounding areas.
We want The Playhouse to be accessible and welcoming to all members of our community and to enhance, develop and advance education and the arts.
As well as the cinema screens, The Playhouse will benefit from rentable multi-purpose rooms, conference space and a café bar.
The Playhouse will show the latest blockbuster films as well as classic and independent films, live screenings of, for example, plays, musicals, operas and ballets and even educational tours of museums.
The multipurpose rooms and screens with retractable seating will be available for hire by the public and local groups and businesses for all manner of purposes such as rehearsal or exhibition space for the many local artists and musicians.
The Reel Café Bar, will serve a diverse range of food and drinks sourced from local suppliers wherever possible.
Support for the Project has been overwhelming from the outset, from the public, business owners and the local media alike. Our market research study showed a high demand for this type of facility and our Facebook page has almost 6000 ‘likes’ in a town of just over 12000 people. Several local businesses have already taken it upon themselves to fundraise on our behalf and to offer their input whether itbe financial or in kind.Our Founder and Chairperson, David Paton was even given the honour of being The Rotary Club’s Montrose Citizen of the Year 2014 in part for his contribution to the Project. We are also the chosen charity of the year for the TSB Bank plc Montrose Branch in 2017.
Start-up funding totaling almost £30,000 received from First Port, The National Lottery Investing in Ideas and Angus Council enabled us to set up the SCIO and to employ Ron Inglis, a Specialist Cinema Consultant, to produce our initial Business Plan and Feasibility study as well as employing architects, surveyors and engineers to help with investigating and costing the Project. It also enabled us to build this website to keep the community informed of our progress and events.
Angus Council has been very supportive of the Project from the outset, providing advice and assistance wherever possible. On 1stSeptember 2017 we officially purchased the building for the princely sum of £1. Now we have taken ownership, our next step is to raise the funds for our planned DIY SOS style strip out of the building, taking it back to a concrete and steel shell. Over 60 local trades people and DIY enthusiasts have signed up to volunteer their services for the task. We have successfully attracted funding from Jewson Building Better Communities Fund (£10,000) and Tesco Bags of Help (£4000) towards the strip out however we require a further £15,000 for things such as materials, machinery, equipment and PPE gear to keep our local heroes safe.
We have put on several very successful fundraising events so far with our first being A Night at the M’Oscars dinner dance in October 2015. This was such a memorable evening for everyone involved that we are hosting the sequel event – Return of the M’Oscars in March 2018.
Our gin tasting evenings, ‘Gone with the Gin’ and upcoming rum tasting event, ‘All for Rum & Rum for All’ have proved to be very popular. In 2016 we held a Christmas Food & Craft Market at the rear of the pool with two outdoor movie screenings in the evening of a Muppets Christmas Carol and Elf – a very festive affair which went down a treat.
In January 2017 we also started our monthly cinema screenings of recent movie releases in the Assembly Hall at Montrose Academy which we hope to continue throughout 2018. These screenings help us to build an audience and evidence the need for the facility to funders.
The Montrose Playhouse Project began in February 2013 whenMontrose born architect, David Paton, who as a big fan of Film and the Arts had been sketching out plans for a cinema in old, disused buildings for several years, posted on Facebook a design for a new Cinema.
In late 2012 the swimming pool, which had been the town’s only swimming pool since the 1950s, had become surplus to requirements when Angus Council created a new facility down at Marine Avenue. The old, boarded up pool now cuts a lonely figure on The Mall and David, who is passionate about re-using historical buildings where possible, went to work in re-imagining the building, taking inspiration from the former Angus Playhouse in his designs.
Within a few hours of David posting the designs, around 500 people had ‘liked’ the post and were vociferous in their calls for him to try and make this dream a reality. A Working Group was quickly formed from members of the local public who had expressed an interest through the Facebook page and work to develop the Project began.
Within one week the Montrose Playhouse Project was born and had been featured in both local newspapers and radio programmes, while the Facebook page had grown to over 3000 followers. Within two weeks the Project had appeared on the STV News.
We are really excited about the momentum we have gathered so far and hope to see significant progress in the coming year.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.