Interest in cinema plans

Community venue: A concept of the rear of the Montrose Playhouse, drawn up by David Paton, showing the building's parking facilities.'Contributed photograph
Community venue: A concept of the rear of the Montrose Playhouse, drawn up by David Paton, showing the building's parking facilities.'Contributed photograph

PROPOSALS to transform the former Montrose swimming pool in to a cinema and arts venue are being supported by national development agency Regional Screen Scotland.

A representative of the organisation, which provides consultancy and information services to advise communities on the development of local cinema, is due to meet with the Montrose Playhouse steering committee shortly to discuss how the project could be progressed.

Ron Inglis, Regional Screen Scotland director, this week said the scheme, which was put forward by Montrose film fan David Paton, is within its area of interest and offers “interesting opportunities” although he stressed things are at a very early stage.

He said: “We have a strategy to find a number of areas around Scotland where there are gaps in provision, and Montrose is fairly high up on that list. There seem to be a lot of gaps around the coast.

“The concept behind a cinema in Montrose is the sort of thing we’d want to spend time working on with people. I think there are some very interesting opportunities for what’s usually called a cinema, but is a bit broader these days.”

Mr Inglis also said such a facility should provide a broad appeal for all ages and a wide range of interests in the community to be sustainable, which is possible partly through new digital technology.

He continued: “Cinema is no longer just for the predominantly 16 to 24 year old age group. It has really expanded now, and the over-35 audience has been growing consistently. You have to cater for a wider spectrum and that’s really what we have to look at now.

“Because it’s now digital, a lot of things can be done, such as screening of live comedy or opera. Last year there were 130 events of that type available in the UK and it can also be used for community meetings, local council meetings and these other things can be important to the overall business, but everything else has to be in place.

“I admire the committee’s enthusiasm and initiative, and I’d be interested in pulling together interested parties and going to a public meeting, but we’re maybe a few steps away from that yet.”