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Martin Stewart: The Fourth Dimension

Updated: 4 days ago

The Broadway's Writer in Residence and author Martin Stewart, gives us his latest update. This time, pondering on history, heritage, and that warm and slightly weird feeling you get when you're confronted with the past.

Last month, I reflected on the essentiality of stories to human beings, with our constant,

animalistic desire for tales and gossip. Once complete, the Broadway’s restoration will fulfil that

need for narrative by delivering film in a range of formats, allowing us to wallow happily in the

darkness of the theatre.

But the stories won’t just be on the screen.

The Broadway itself is a story in four dimensions. To visit it now, even in its current state of

disrepair, is to step both into a physical space and through a window in time: relics and stains

remain from all its incarnations, from the sports centre’s squash courts to the arcade’s airline

photographs; from the boarded stairwells to the 1930s carpet scraps. The manager’s office still

has its paperwork, café its rickety dumb waiter. There are cigarettes still in the ashtrays, carbon

rods in the projector – all bearing the fingerprints of the past and pulsing with stories.

Who stubbed out that cigarette? Which film was showing when those rods were fitted? The dumb

waiter whizzed up and down while war raged in Europe and newsreels flickered in the auditorium.

It is impossible not to feel this connection to the Broadway’s history as you climb its stairs,

impossible not to imagine the feet that went before you in its glory days and wonder who they

were and what they felt.

The Museum of Scottish Cinemas will gather all these stories under a restored roof, with

antiquated projection equipment, usherette trays, and the voices of a generation who remember

Scotland’s cinemas in the heyday of B-movies and Saturday specials. These beacons of the past

will cast their light over a new generation of filmgoers and community groups writing new stories

within the Broadway’s walls.

It’s going to be a very special place indeed.

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