Dundee Courier – Montrose Playhouse Project dreams of bringing cinema back to Montrose

Montrose is one step closer to having a cinema on the site of the town’s former swimming pool.  Montrose Playhouse Project has submitted an application, technically known as a community asset transfer, for the building on the Mall, which the group plans to turn into a three-screen cinema.  The group identified the building as a suitable site because of its central location. The sloping floor of the swimming pool would become the basis for the cinema’s tiered seating.  The building has been empty since Montrose Sports Centre opened last November. It has been determined the outside of the building is structurally sound, though more than £2 million is expected to be needed to convert the interior.  Project coordinator Trevor Eakin said: “The community asset transfer is a long process with about five or six stages. This is just the first step.  “The transfer will be dependent on the group being able to raise the funds and, of course, there would have to be discussions with the council about the value they put on the pool.”  Mr Eakin said they are now aiming for a three-screen cinema which would have the ability to stream live events like ballet performances, comedy, sports events and concerts.  He said three screens would allow for more flexibility in programming films.  “If you have one screen and a big blockbuster is out, then that’s all we’d be able to show all week,” he continued.  “People who want to watch a different sort of film would still have to travel to Aberdeen or Dundee.  “If we have three screens then we can give people a choice and it would also allow us to operate a film club and show a comedy or horror season.  “The way the cinema world works is if you do want to show a blockbuster, you buy that film from the producer, who dictates how long you show it for. They might say you’ve got to show it all week at all times.  “If it turns out to not be very successful, we’ve got an empty cinema for a week. Also, if there is a very popular film and people are queuing round the corner, then we’d be able to put it on to two screens.”  As well as the cinema screens, the group said a café and bar was also a popular option in a recent survey.  Around 98% of people who responded said they would use a cinema in the town.  “Everyone we speak to in the town wants this to happen. There is huge demand for it,” Mr Eakin added.  “We are looking to expand the committee from eight members to 12, as the further down the line we get, the more work there will be to do.”  Anyone interested in joining the committee is asked to emailtrevoreakin@tiscali.co.uk.  Montrose Playhouse Project, which formed in February, recently met with officers from Angus Council to discuss their plans for the building before the community asset transfer form was submitted.

 

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