Campbeltown Picture House is a Category A listed building and one of the earliest surviving purpose-built cinemas in the UK with important historical and architectural significance. Built during 1913, by the early 2000s the picture house had become so run down that it was established the only way to guarantee its future was a complete overhaul of the building. Campbeltown Community Business stepped in and ‘The Centenary Project’ was born.
“S&CC have been so supportive, and their flexibility has enabled the project to actually happen”, Jane Mayo, Chairman explains. To help avoid any cash flow issues, S&CC were able to provide the upfront capital to bridge the funding gap, allowing the project to pay its contractors and carry out the work before being eligible to claim its grant funding.
During restoration it was important to maintain the original features of the protected building, whilst adding all the facilities needed for a modern cinema, including an extra screen, café and spaces for exhibitions, displays, education and community activities. “One of the core aims for renovation was to make the picture house a real hub and community space”, informs Ellen Mainwood, General Manager. “The cinema is so special because it feels so unlikely that it would exist in a place like this”.
As well as screening movies, the cinema hosts live satellite events showing theatre, dance and opera performances. It holds Silver Screen afternoons every Wednesday with discounted tickets for people over 60, as well as linking in with the town to hold one-off events throughout the year such as the Malts Festival in May.
In addition to providing a focus for community in the town, the reopened picture house has created career opportunities and training in a town where new jobs are not always readily available. The enterprise has been warmly embraced by the community, as a local member of the public expressed, “We love what they’ve done with the renovation, it’s a real asset to Campbeltown”.