Campbeltown Community Business has just announced that it has appointed a professional team to assist with the preparation of their second round bid for Heritage Lottery funding to restore and expand The Picture House.
This is, of course, Campbeltown’s A listed cinema, built in 1913 and a charming architectural grace note on the waterfront of this magnificent town.
The Centenary Project redevelopment will cost an estimated £2 million.
Cinema consultant Ron Inglis, from Mayfield Arts & Media, is to be the Project Manager for the development team. This will include architects and a group of consultants working on organisational development, heritage and public engagement activities and business planning.
Arts development consultant, Robert Livingston of Kirkhill Associates and Director of the former Hi-Arts, will lead the organisational development activities, working with the Picture House Board, staff and volunteers to prepare the cinema for the future the Community Company is determined to secure for it.
Jane Mayo, Chair of Campbeltown Community Business, says: ‘The Board of CCB is very excited that it has been able to attract such experienced consultants to this project. I am also so pleased that more local people have become involved both on the Board and out in the community.
‘There is a real buzz in the area at the possibility of growing successes both for business and tourism and The Picture House can be situated at the heart of this bright future when this project is delivered.’
Ron Inglis, cinema consultant and now Project Manager for the bid development team, says: ‘Local cinemas with such tremendous character and history are rare nowadays so it will be a great privilege to work on one of the UK’s most iconic and important historic buildings.
‘I look forward to working with the expert team and the dedicated board and staff. In the months to come there is a great deal of work to be done in building the capabilities of the cinema, restoring the unique features of the building, and preparing it for its revitalised future.’
Robert Livingston, arts development consultant says: ‘The Picture House has been a treasured asset of Campbeltown for a century. Digital and satellite technologies now make it possible for small independent cinemas to be able to offer their audiences a tremendous range of experiences, not just the latest movie releases and much-loved classics, but also live relays of theatre, music and major events. So there’s every reason for restoring the Picture House to be a fitting venue for the 21st century.’
The Centenary Project
The Centenary Project will galvanize this already itrresistible building.
The unique interior will not only be restored to its former glory but thoroughly modernised to provide an exceptional night out. Comfortable seating and an expanded kiosk will enhance the enjoyment of watching the latest film through today’s digital technology.
These will include the sort of live downloads of opera, drama and ballet etc you normally have to travel to Glasgow cinemas to experience – and fantastic experiences they are: so good that in the interval of a performance of Nabucco by the English National Opera which we saw at Cineworld, one woman got up in the interval, looked at her watch and turned to say to her friend: ‘Ten o’clock. Well, they’re getting through it.’
At the Picture House, exhibition areas will be created to tell stories of Campbeltown’s rich and textured history; and it is hoped to be able to incorporate a second cinema auditorium in the development.
Funding has already been promised by both Historic Scotland and Creative Scotland, carried over from the first attempt to gain Heritage Lottery funding.
This time too, Argyll and Bute Council have promised a significant contribution.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise have already been extremely supportive in allowing the CCB Board to reach this stage with the help of consultants. Other trusts and foundations, like The Architectural Heritage Fund, The Pilgrim Trust, The Kilfinan Trust and locally, the Balure Trust and the former Civic Society, have all given or pledged funding. A Seat Sponsorship Scheme has also attracted considerable local support.
There is no doubt that the communal resourcefuness, energy and initiative that the team behind this enterprise possess in large measure will be brought fully to bear on the challenge of securing the second stage of Heritage Lottery Funding for a functioning architectural asset that puts a smile on everyone’s face.