Cinema project in Montrose gets charity status

The group hoping to bring a cinema to Montrose have been awarded charity status
The group hoping to bring a cinema to Montrose have been awarded charity status

The group trying to bring a cinema to Montrose has been awarded charity status.

Montrose Playhouse Project is now a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), having been given the accreditation by The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The group will be known as Montrose Playhouse Project SCIO from now on.

Trevor Eakin, chairman, said: “This gives us freedom to apply for much larger and different types of funding.

“Being regulated means we are going to have to do everything correctly and the way OSCR wishes it to be done.”

Last week, the Review revealed that the group has submitted an application to Angus Council to turn the former swimming pool, on The Mall, into a three-screen cinema and arts centre.

Trevor said: “In the last few months everything seems to have come together.

“There has been a lot of work going on in the background, which is now coming into fruition.

“All the work we have been doing in the background has helped us to get where we are now.”

He explained the next stage for Montrose Playhouse Project SCIO is to submit stage two of the application to Angus Council for the old swimming pool, technically known as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

One of the specifications of stage two of the CAT was that the group were a registered charity.

Another was that they needed a full business plan and feasibility study. Independent cinema consultant Ron Inglis has been hired to prepare these.

He has 30 years of experience and knowledge in the cinema industry and has been involved in picturehouse projects across Scotland, including The Phoenix in Oban, The Birks in Aberfeldy, Dundee Contemporary Arts theatre and The Marlee in Shetland.

Montrose Playhouse Project SCIO was awarded an almost £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund in March, which will pay for the plan and study, as well as a website.

David Paton, founder of Montrose Playhouse Project, has been consulting with a quantity surveyor whose results will allow Ron Inglis to do the feasibility study and business plan, as it breaks down the costing of the playhouse.

It is estimated that the cinema could cost in the region of £3 million and could take three to four years to complete. The group has to submit stage two of the CAT by the end of May.

Trevor concluded: “We want this to be more than a cinema, we want it to have arts exhibitions, a bar, a restaurant and live screenings as well.

“If we can make it all of these things it will be a community hub for the people of Montrose and Angus to go to, which is what the area needs.”