As our project moves ever closer towards our goal we have reached out to already established and successful community-run cinemas across Scotland, to help us learn from their experiences and form lasting friendships for the Broadway's future!
Our director Kyle travelled to Oban, Campbeltown and Elgin over the last couple of weeks to visit three successful independent cinemas, each with their own wonderful atmosphere and history.
The first visited was the Moray Playhouse in Elgin, a cinema that holds a very special connection to the Broadway! The Playhouse was designed by Alister Gladstone MacDonald, who would go on to design the Broadway for Prestwick only two years after the Playhouse was opened in Elgin in 1932. This was a special cinema for Alister from the very beginning, with his family having grown up in Moray, and he truly did his home region proud with a beautifully designed auditorium fitting even for the grandest cities in the world and built right in the centre of Elgin. Amazingly, the Moray Playhouse remains open to this day, 90 years on from its grand opening! The interior layout may have changed significantly since the cinema's early days, but Screen 1 in the original auditorium front stands as the one of the best remaining examples of Alister MacDonald's work. A huge thank you goes out to Callum, Steven and the rest of the team for the warm welcome and wonderful behind the scenes tour. We hope the Broadway will re-join its sister venue once again in reopening for our community in Prestwick.
The second cinema visited was the wonderful Phoenix Cinema in Oban. A varied history first as the Phoenix before operating as the Highland Theatre for many years, the cinema was saved and refurbished to reopen in 2012 as the Phoenix once more, bringing the magic of film back to the community for generations to come. We would like to extend a special thank you to Jennie, her wonderful hospitality and insightful tour was of great help to the Broadway's future moving forward and the advice and support received will invaluable to our own project!
The third cinema visited was Campbeltown Picture House and the CPH is undoubtedly the cinema in Scotland that our vision for the Broadway most closely aligns with! One of the oldest and best preserved examples of the early days of cinema of Scotland, the now Grade-A listed Picture House opened in 1913 and was the work of well-known architect Albert Gardner who also designed the Orient Cinema in Ayr. The Centenary Project in 2017 completed an incredible restoration of the building: beautifully preserving the original atmospheric auditorium, the creation of an all-new extension with a second screen and a complete modernisation of the building's heating, ventilation and seating. The path to funding and through to completion mirrors the path the Broadway we hope will very soon take, and Campbeltown's success is the greatest inspiration to us that we too can bring that same success to the people of Prestwick. The warmest thanks go out to Ellen and her team! Her kind welcome, amazing tour and overwhelming support for our own project was truly amazing and we are determined that we can now follow in the Picture House's footsteps.
Forming lasting friendships and learning from other successful independent cinemas like these are crucial to the Broadway's future, as we look to learn from those who have gone before us and follow in their footsteps. Prestwick's time will come too!