Today, Tuesday 13th November, The Picture House in Campbeltown launched its Seat Sponsorship Scheme at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Argyll & Bute’s MSP, Michael Russell.
He said: ‘This is a great opportunity for all those who love cinema in Scotland to be a part of history. Sponsoring a seat will put their name into the longest continuously running movie palace in the country and secure its future. I am delighted to be the first such sponsor and would encourage others – at home and abroad – to sign up too.’
The Centenary Project for this gloriously special cinema was conceived over 3 years ago with the aim of conserving what is one of the oldest cinemas in the world – showing films continuously for nearly 100 years.
‘The Wee Pictures’, as it is affectionately known, sits prominently on the waterfront of this historic town, now on the cusp of a second era of prosperity.
The Directors of The Picture House are excited by the final plan they have produced with the help of a team of experienced consultants. Not only will the historic auditorium and ‘wee castles’ be conserved, but the currently empty annexe will be brought back into use with enlarged kiosk facilities. A second screen will be built in the back courtyard to widen the programme of film showings. Renewable energy will be used to help provide a sustainable long term future. And the iconic MacGrory Brothers’ archive of photographs will be used to broaden the appeal of the finished building.
These plans need funding and the Heritage Lottery Fund are currently assessing the project’s final application. Historic Scotland and Creative Scotland have also shown support and appeals to HIE, LEADER and Argyll & Bute Council are also under way. Some success has already been achieved from trusts and foundations.
Now they are launching this important fund raising initiative – which can involve everyone.
- A permanent record of all those who help will be displayed on a Roll of Honour in The Picture House.
- £250 will ‘buy’ a seat.
Jane Mayo, Chair of the endlessly hard working team behind Campbeltown Community Business Ltd that is driving the project, says that they hope that people with Campbeltown connections will consider being part of this adventure.
- Some will already love cinema and its heritage.
- Some, who have enjoyed their Wee Pictures for generations may club together to buy a seat.
- Some may buy a seat in memory of someone from The Wee Toun – or anywhere – who has been important to them.
- Families might give themselves a seat for Christmas
- Organisations and businesses might like the permanent presence a corporate seat. There are many, many societies in the South Kintyre area. If some of them were to raise funds to finance a single society seat, it would add huge community texture to the auditorium ad well as add great support to this serious fund raising programme.
The project will need 190 seats in the main auditorium and 50 in the new second screen.
Further details are here on the Wee Pictures website, where a form can be downloaded to complete the purchase of a seat. [Leaflets can also be picked up at The Picture House itself.]
How many of us, if we’re out for a walk and see a plaque on the back of a seat, stop to read the details of the person it commemorates? How many of us find this way of keeping the essence of a person in the present an interesting and enriching one?
Imagine what The Picture House is going to be like with the names of people, families, businesses and societies on the back of an auditorium-full of seats? This is going to be a permanent telling of a very particular story.
Who would not love their name in a place like this?