Montrose film fans are in for a blockbuster end to 2021 as work on the town’s multi-million pound community cinema enters a crucial stage.
A year on from Bancon Construction contractors moving in to begin the transformation of the old town swimming pool, the three big screens at the heart of the cultural hub are beginning to take shape within The Mall building.
Montrose Playhouse project volunteers are confidently targeting an October opening for the realisation of their eight-year dream.
And they hope local movie buffs will be in for a treat with the early screening of big franchise films which were delayed by the coronavirus crisis.
In 2015, the Playhouse group struck a community asset transfer deal for the 59-year-old building.
Volunteers spent thousands of hours stripping it out before contractors moved in a year ago.
The main pool area will house three screens and soundproofing work for two of them, a 150-seat and a 110-seat, has begun.
Playhouse project chairman David Paton said: “We really feel we have reached an exciting stage now with what will become the three screens beginning to take shape.
“It’s not just about the cinema, the social side of the project is hugely important and we have a number of programmes we are already planning to make sure this is a community hub which people can access.
“We have raised about £2.9 million and to finish the capital project we are looking at finding around another £550,000.
“It is difficult just now with the pandemic situation, but we have received terrific support from the community and businesses and there are many opportunities to support us, through sponsorship and other ways.”
Big film franchises planning late-2021 releases
It is hoped the building will be complete in August, ahead of opening in October.
Mr Paton added: “There is a multitude of blockbusters waiting in the wings after being delayed because of the pandemic.”
They include No Time To Die – the 25th James Bond film – now scheduled for release in early October.
“It would be amazing to open with one of the biggest movie franchise there is,” said Mr Paton about the prospect of Daniel Craig’s fifth outing as 007 being a debut offering.
Banchory-based Bancon Construction managing director Gavin Currie said: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19 the project is now at a transformational stage.
“Demolitions and roof repairs are complete which have allowed the commencement of the acoustic walls to form the three cinemas.
“The building is now starting to look more like a cinema every day.
“We are delighted not only at the building coming to life but the strong community support and involvement we continue to receive.”
The project has received more than £2m from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund in a working partnership with Angus Council and almost £100k from Screen Scotland’s Cinema Equipment Fund to kit out the cinemas.