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We Own the Broadway!

Updated: 4 days ago

It's happened - we now officially own a cinema and the next phase of the project begins. Here's our press release and a few photos from our day of celebrations.

Prestwick’s Broadway Cinema comes into community ownership – 89 years after first opening its doors

Prestwick’s iconic Art Deco cinema, the Broadway, has come into community ownership thanks to a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. The occasion was marked by a special event held on Monday 29th April – 89 years to the day since the building first opened its doors to the public. The Broadway’s purchase marks the beginning of a new chapter for charity Friends of the Broadway, who are working towards reopening the building as a functioning cinema for the wider community.

After a successful bid to the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the building, a grant of £328,060 was made to the charity, providing the sum for the building’s purchase, funds for a dedicated Project Development Officer, as well as funds for some immediate, essential maintenance.

The event was attended by members of the community, supporters of the charity, as well as local businesses, and the charity’s pupil advisory board from nearby Prestwick Academy.

Guy Walker, Chair of Friends of the Broadway said:

“It’s a momentous occasion! We now own a cinema, and the hard work really begins.

We’re a community-run organisation, and our vision for the Broadway is an accessible, inclusive cinema that will forever cater to the needs and wants of that community.

Prestwick is a town with big ambitions, and our hope is that the Broadway will not only bring something new to our local economy, for local people, but will also compliment the existing leisure offer on the Main Street.”

The building was purchased from Scottish restaurant Group, Buzzworks, who have two venues in Prestwick, and others across Scotland. The Group contributed a significant five figure discount to enable the building to pass into community ownership.

The Broadway Cinema opened its doors on 29th April, 1935, during the Golden Age of cinema. Originally seating over 1,000 people, the main auditorium showed the biggest movie releases right through until 1976 when the final showing took place. The building was then put to many uses, including a leisure centre, amusement arcade, and squash courts.

Designed by renowned cinema architect Alister Gladstone MacDonald, son of the UK’s first Labour Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald, the building will be restored with the help of architects Burrell Foley Fischer who specialise in heritage cinema and theatre design. Original features of the cinema will be honoured wherever possible, with adjustments also being made to make the cinema accessible and convenient to all, in line with modern day standards.

Now that the building has been purchased, works have already started to take the Broadway through to the next phase of the project – but the road ahead is long and winding. The Charity will continue to fundraise to support the ongoing development with a range of activities including offering pop-up cinema at nearby Prestwick Academy.

If you’d like to find out more about the Broadway, upcoming cinema roadshows, the charity, or wish to offer your support – please visit get in touch.

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